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Interview with Charles E. Katlic [8/12/2011]

Kathy Sheffield:

Today is August 12th, 2011. My name is Kathy Sheffield. I'm conducting an oral history interview for the Veterans History Project at the Court Reporting Institute in Dallas, Texas. Therese Casterline is the transcriber, and our interview is with Charles "Chuck" Katlic. Sir, would you please state your name and your address for the record.

Charles E. Katlic:

Okay. It's Charles Katlic, 205 Lancelot Drive, Weatherford, Texas 76086.

Kathy Sheffield:

Where were you born, sir?

Charles E. Katlic:

Millersville, Maryland.

Kathy Sheffield:

Millersville, Maryland?

Charles E. Katlic:

Uh-huh.

Kathy Sheffield:

That's a long way away.

Charles E. Katlic:

It is.

Kathy Sheffield:

What were the names of your parents?

Charles E. Katlic:

My father was Charles, and my mother was Mary Novak.

Kathy Sheffield:

And did you have any brothers and sisters?

Charles E. Katlic:

Yeah, I had five sisters and a brother, and all of them are living -- well, the youngest sister died about two years ago.

Kathy Sheffield:

For heaven's sake. Are some of them still back in Maryland or --

Charles E. Katlic:

They're all back there. I'm the only one. And I got to Texas as fast as I could.

Kathy Sheffield:

But after this heat, you might change your mind this year.

Charles E. Katlic:

I'll tell you -- you know what I said -- I already talked to the newspaper editor down at our local paper, and, I said, the first snowfall, I'm going to give you a call for a story. I'm going to be rolling out in the snow, and you can say the heat wave is over.

Kathy Sheffield:

We may have a wait for that.

Charles E. Katlic:

Yeah.

Kathy Sheffield:

Well, to just get started here, what service were you in?

Charles E. Katlic:

US Army.

Kathy Sheffield:

You were in the Army. Were you drafted, or did you --

Charles E. Katlic:

Drafted.

Kathy Sheffield:

You were drafted. And this was for World War II?

Charles E. Katlic:

World War II. I went in February of 1943.

Kathy Sheffield:

And do you mind my asking your age?

Charles E. Katlic:

Right now, I'm 88.

Kathy Sheffield:

You're 80 -- 88! No.

Charles E. Katlic:

I have to be that old to be World War II.

Kathy Sheffield:

No.

Charles E. Katlic:

And I'm one of the youngest ones.

Kathy Sheffield:

So how old were you when you were drafted?

Charles E. Katlic:

19.

Kathy Sheffield:

You were 19. Were you in Maryland there at the time?

Charles E. Katlic:

Yeah. I was inducted at Fort Meade. You've heard of Fort Meade?

Kathy Sheffield:

Yes. That's a language school now, isn't it?

Charles E. Katlic:

I don't know what it is now, but it was one of the bigger Army posts in World War II.

Kathy Sheffield:

So you were drafted, so you didn't pick the service --

Charles E. Katlic:

No.

Kathy Sheffield:

-- branch that you wanted to be in?

Charles E. Katlic:

I thought I was going to go into ordnance or something, because I was a machinist, apprentice machinist, and they put me in the infantry. I guess that's where they needed everybody.

Kathy Sheffield:

Most people ended up in the infantry, I think. Where did you receive your basic training?

Charles E. Katlic:

Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi. It's right about -- it's a little town called Centreville, which is about maybe 10 miles from the Louisiana line.

Kathy Sheffield:

Camp Van Duren?

Charles E. Katlic:

Van Dorn.

Kathy Sheffield:

Van Dorn.

Charles E. Katlic:

V-A-N --

Kathy Sheffield:

D-O-R-N?

Charles E. Katlic:

-- D-O-R-N. It's two words.

Kathy Sheffield:

D-O-R-N?

Charles E. Katlic:

And then after I did my basic training, we went on maneuvers. We marched from out in the field for three months from Mississippi, went through Louisiana and Texas, and we crossed the Sabine River there at Louisiana and Texas, and then we went and got all of our advanced training at Camp Maxey, Texas.

Kathy Sheffield:

And now what year was that? '43, did you say you were --

Charles E. Katlic:

'43.

Kathy Sheffield:

You were drafted in '43?

Charles E. Katlic:

Yeah. I went across -- I went overseas in '44.

Kathy Sheffield:

Okay. So where -- where did they send you, then, in '44?

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, we went up to Boston, Camp Myles Standish, and stayed there two years.

Therese J. Casterline:

I'm sorry, where?

Charles E. Katlic:

Camp Myles Standish. It was just out of Boston. It's two words, Myles and Standish.

Therese J. Casterline:

Right.

Charles E. Katlic:

Okay. Yeah, I went there. Then, we trained about -- oh, I don't know -- maybe two or three weeks. And while we were there -- I'll just add this in. While we were there, we had to do things to keep us occupied. So they put me to box. And we had a draw, and -- you know, they went by your weight, but I got a guy that was my weight, but he was about six feet tall, and I did last three rounds with him.

Kathy Sheffield:

Oh, boxing.

Charles E. Katlic:

I had to get on the -- I had to get on the inside of him because all I could hit was his body; I couldn't reach his chin.

Kathy Sheffield:

Well --

Charles E. Katlic:

I think it was a draw.

Kathy Sheffield:

So then they shipped you overseas. Where -- where were you sent?

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, we left Boston, and we crossed the ocean in a 65-ship convoy. It was one of the biggest convoys in World War II. And we were on the ocean for 11 days, and it was the roughest -- we went in October, so that's the roughest time of year for the Atlantic Ocean. And we were in one of these smaller ships, and our wheel was out of the water more than it was in the water. And we just bounced around, roll -- well, you roll, actually. And then we landed -- we were supposed to land in France, and we got an alert there were submarines after us, so we got the DEs, which is the destroyers, the Navy's, would they escort us over, and they dropped depth charges, and we saw this oil slick, so they said it was okay to go. But instead of going to France, we went up to Scotland. We got on trains in Scotland, and went down to England. It was a place called Lyme Regis, which is a big resort right on -- right on the Channel, and we trained there about three weeks. And then we left there and went to Southampton, got on LSTs, which is the -- they called it landing ship tanks. They'd put the tanks on it, but they had all of us infantry, and they've got this big ol' door. And we got into Le Havre, and they still had it mined. There was ships all sunk, and they had still mines floating around. So we landed at Le Havre, and then we got on trucks and we drove up through Belgium. We went all across France and into Belgium. And about 20 miles from the front, they let us out. We had to march up to the front lines. And we dug foxholes. There was snow on the ground then. And we were right on that Sigfried line. You know, that Sigfried line is a dragon's teeth, and we were --

Therese J. Casterline:

Siegfried line?

Charles E. Katlic:

Sigfried. I think it's S-C-I-G-F-R-A-D or something, Sigfried. See, the French had one line called -- called the Maginot line.

Therese J. Casterline:

I'm sorry; I interrupted you.

Charles E. Katlic:

No, that's okay. We dug our foxholes right -- right near the -- the Sigfried line. They had all these bunkers and all where the Germans were. And what we did there, like Eisenhower gave us -- told us that -- don't worry about anything because we'd be home by Christmas. Well, we were there from November the 8th, and on December the 16th is when the 500,000 Germans hit us. And we had four and a half divisions spread on a 70-mile line, and our division covered 20 -- 20 miles, which we should have only covered five in that terrain. But we were spread so thin, and that's where they hit us. And the reason they called it a Bulge, they drove like a wedge, and we were on this northern shoulder and held it so they couldn't get through. And we were -- we were surrounded for about three days and three nights with Germans all around us, and we had to fight our way out, because I remember fixing bayonets three times --

Kathy Sheffield:

Wow.

Charles E. Katlic:

-- because we were low on ammo.

Kathy Sheffield:

So you were -- you were sent over right after D Day had happened?

Charles E. Katlic:

Oh, yeah. D Day was June the 6th, and we got over in October.

Kathy Sheffield:

And then they were sending you up to the --

Charles E. Katlic:

To the front line.

Kathy Sheffield:

-- to Bastogne and --

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, we were -- we were kind of, I guess, east of Bastogne.

Kathy Sheffield:

So --

Charles E. Katlic:

We were at a place called -- there were two -- two twin cities, they called it. One was Krinkelt and the other was Rocherath.

Kathy Sheffield:

Okay.

Charles E. Katlic:

And we got trapped -- our battalion was given up for lost, and we fought our way out. And we had -- our captain took over our battalion. The company commander took over the battalion and got us out, because the battalion commander wanted us to surrender, and we wouldn't surrender, because -- I don't know -- it was maybe four or five days before, we got it through the grapevine they massacred all these guys at Malmedy. They just shot them in cold blood and killed them.

Kathy Sheffield:

Yeah.

Charles E. Katlic:

I think there were 80 or 82 men. So we wouldn't surrender. We figured they were going to kill us anyway, so we fought our way out.

Kathy Sheffield:

Wow. And what was your rank at that time?

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, I was a PFC -- well, I was a PFC because I was a mortar gunner, and then when my sergeant -- he got cut out, wounded or something, and they made me a sergeant. I didn't get sergeant until like February of '45. I was a squad leader.

Kathy Sheffield:

So then after -- after that effort there, where did you go from there?

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, we -- we straightened out the Bulge, and then we went into the offensive, and we were headed for the Rhine River.

Kathy Sheffield:

Yes.

Charles E. Katlic:

And we were going to try to cross at Cologne, which is north of where we actually went. We got word there was one bridge that was still intact, and that was the Ludendorff Bridge at a town called Remagen. And that was the one -- it was a railroad bridge across the Rhine, and once you got across on the east side, it was a tunnel that went through. And I remember crossing that bridge -- I think it was about -- I think it was dark; it was about 11:00 or 12:00 at night, and the artillery was coming in on that bridge about every 30 seconds. And where we -- we come through the town, and they had an intersection there right at the bridge, and they called it Dead Man's Corner, because when I was going over, I was stumbling all over bodies to get up to the bridge. And once -- it was a railroad bridge, but they had planks on it because the Germans were taking all the equipment back. And they tried to blow the bridge, but something happened where the explosion -- they didn't have enough explosives or something, and it just kind of weakened it. And we went over on March the 10th. And on the 17th of March it collapsed into the river, and we lost -- I think there were a battalion of engineers, and I think it was 82 of them got killed when they went into the river.

Kathy Sheffield:

So then, from -- from there, where did you go?

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, we went -- we started at the bridgehead -- the bridgehead on the other side of the river, and we headed towards Ruhr Pocket, which was their big industrial center, and I remember -- it was an SS -- they still had SS troopers leading them, because at that time of the war, most of their men were killed or captured, and they had -- they were throwing in kids and old men.

Kathy Sheffield:

Yes.

Charles E. Katlic:

And the -- I went into the Ruhr Pocket, and I captured an SS trooper. He was a commander. I don't know what his rank was, but he was -- had the company or whatever, and I took his P38 and his dagger. And then on the dagger, it's got a swastika on the handle, and it says on the blade, "All is for Deutschland," which means, all for Germany. And I've got that. I still have that. I have it locked up.

Kathy Sheffield:

Wow.

Charles E. Katlic:

And I would -- I'm going to give it to a museum before I leave so they can have it. But the P38 was -- was already fired. It had the black holster with the extra clip, and it looks like brand-new.

Kathy Sheffield:

Wow. So then that was getting kind of toward the end of the war.

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, it was -- the war ended in May, so we -- we crossed the river. We went and cleaned out the Ruhr Pocket, and then went across the Cologne plains, which is just a flat place where they had little villages and towns. And then we went through there, and then we started capturing all these other towns, like I think one was a place called Giessen -- it was just -- in fact, I've got a ... (Off the record.)

Charles E. Katlic:

I was going to show you this -- I hope I didn't leave it there. This was a log that was kept by our company clerk. This is Company F, 394th Regiment, and this was our insignia. This was the -- if I can get it right -- the Monongahela and the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania, running into the Missouri River, I think, and that was our insignia, because this 99th Division originated in Pennsylvania. And then -- well, this is a picture of some --

Kathy Sheffield:

Originating in the Civil War? Is that when they originated it, during the Civil War?

Charles E. Katlic:

No. The 99th?

Kathy Sheffield:

Yeah.

Charles E. Katlic:

No, they were activated, I think, in World War II.

Kathy Sheffield:

In World War II. That was their origination? Okay.

Charles E. Katlic:

This is -- this is a guy that -- let's see. Which one is it? This guy here was my gunner, and he died about seven or eight years ago, but I still correspond with his daughter and send her everything I can get on the 99th. This was our insignia. This was our patch. And then they've got the -- they start off with the time we left Boston. And see, here's all the -- these are the dates and these are all the towns we were in.

Kathy Sheffield:

Oh, you might want to --

Charles E. Katlic:

All these German towns. Like we start with Camp Myles Standish on September the 28th, 1944. Then we went to the port of debarkation, which was in Boston, on the September 29th. And we crossed the Atlantic. We left on the 30th of September, and we got in Scotland on October the 11th. And then we went from -- we went to Lyme Regis, England. Then we went to Southampton and got on these LSTs and crossed the English Channel, and we landed in Le Havre, France, and then we got in these trucks and we stayed in a place called Fry, France, and we bivouacked in an apple orchard in Belgium. And then we went to -- stayed in a farmhouse. And then went to place called Aubel, Belgium. And then we moved up to the front lines. It was -- Weisser Stein, Belgium was the name of the little town. It was a little ol' country town. And then it goes over to constant patrols and fortifying our front lines, zeroing in with our mortars, guard security, all this stuff. And then front line action was in Merrigan, M-E-R-R-I-G-A-N, Belgium, and Hunmgen, H-U-N-M-G-E-N, and then went to Elsenborn, and then we went into Germany, all these little names. Then we did get one -- one couple days there -- from February 24th to March the 1st, we went to a -- went back for rest/relaxation in Eupen and Aubel, Belgium. And then we went back up to the front, and then that's when we went into the attack March the 2nd. Then we went to -- all these names in Germany, I just can't pronounce them, but these are all these German towns, and that's when we crossed the Rhine River, the Remagen railway bridge. And then I remember a lot of these little towns, but this Giessen in Germany, it was a good-sized town. And then we went till the end of the war, which is May the 8th. And then we got on trucks and went to a little place on the -- it's spelled M-A-I-N, what they call the Main River, and all the bridges were knocked out, so they had a lot of these big -- I guess they were like scows, and they could live on them. They used to -- well, they couldn't do anything because they couldn't get through on account of the bridges were collapsed, so they would stay there and live. And I remember this one town was called Wurzburg, Germany, and it was all bombed out, and I went -- we went to town one time after we pulled occupation, and I had dinner with Gobel's wife.

Kathy Sheffield:

Is that right?

Charles E. Katlic:

Yeah. They were living there.

Kathy Sheffield:

They had a lot of children.

Charles E. Katlic:

Yeah. And see here's our -- here's our daily log. It tells you everything we did each day and tells all about the weather.

Kathy Sheffield:

What a wonderful record.

Charles E. Katlic:

Here's one -- here's one here that -- this is when we went into -- attacked on March -- let's see now. That was March the 12th. It says, company detrucked and moved out toward Bingen, Germany on foot, arriving after a two-mile hike at 1400 hours, which would be 2:00 in the morning. And it goes on and says, at 1900, the company moved out on foot, onward to one of the most important moves since D Day to cross the Rhine River. After a 10-mile march, losing no men, company arrived in the vicinity of the Remagen railroad bridge, which was about 75 yards distance and partly damaged. At this point, company came under severe artillery, three shells landing in 1st Platoon area, causing a number of casualties and causing the company to split up in different directions. It was very dark, and wounded lay all around the street. It was hard to walk without tripping on someone. From the shelling and darkness, men were unable to reach the bridge. And Captain Goodner, which was our company commander in the 2nd Platoon, and some men from headquarters had already crossed the bridge. And, it says, 1st Sergeant Holloway, noticing the shelling seemed to come at intervals, came back across the bridge to the west side of the Rhine and explained the intervals of the shells and got the remainder of the company together. From this time on, men of F Company began rushing across the bridge after shells burst. This act of Sergeant Holloway is that mind -- in the minds of the men saved many lives. When the company had all reached the east bank of the Rhine, it was reorganized. And then March -- March 11th, Lieutenant Fowler -- instead of Tech Sergeant Fowler, because they were making -- you could be a private and you'd become a company commander overnight when everybody got killed.

Kathy Sheffield:

Right.

Charles E. Katlic:

But it says we had crossed that bridge -- we had 24 casualties just in the company, in crossing, including Lieutenant Brown and another lieutenant. But it just goes on and tells all of this stuff. One interesting thing here that I -- that I remember, because we were in this -- let's see. I think it was about the -- it was in February -- but, anyway, this is really interesting. See, December the 16th is when they hit us with the Bulge, and it says this -- our clerk said, today the weather was cloudy and cold. The Jerries laid a barrage of artillery in our area starting at 0500 -- which is 5 o'clock in the morning -- and from then on, artillery continued to land in our sector all day and night. All men were kept on the alert for an attack all day and night, and things were beginning to pop. Two casualties were suffered today from shrapnel -- and it gives their names. And then 2nd Lieutenant Woods was evacuated with second-degree burns on right hand and left knee. And back in Merrigan, where the kitchen was located, shells came in fast early in the morning. All men took to bomb shelter. See, the kitchen was way behind our lines, and the clerk that wrote this, he was in that -- in headquarters -- he was behind the line. He didn't know really too much of what was going on up front unless we told him. Artillery barrages continued to be laid along the lines occupied by our troops. At 0900, air activity was terrific. Enemy and friendly were in the sky, and Jerry planes were strafing our lines, and our planes were strafing and bombing the German lines. Dogfights were being fought overhead. Three Jerry planes were shot down during the flight. Also one P38 was shot down. That was our plane. And, it says, it was apparent that the Germans were starting a big attack. Back in the kitchen area, artillery was coming in fast. Men took to bomb shelter -- and like I said, they were behind the lines, so they were probably set up in somebody's house. And it says, in the rear echelon, kitchen received orders to load up at 0900, but due to enemy positions, convoy did not move out until 1500. And then on the 18th, two days after they hit us: This morning there was no artillery landing around our position. Men began improving positions. A little later, orders were received to withdraw. While moving along draw, enemy mortar fire started along the draw and company moved into woods where we were temporarily held up for two hours. After this time, our company and the rest of the battalion started toward Merrigan. That's in Belgium. Approximately 1500, a Burp Gun opened up on our columns and pinned us down. Heavy weapons were called for, and seeing that they could not stop the firing, an attack was waged against the enemy position. Stiff resistance was met, and men withdrew to draw again. After an engagement of firing at the enemy, which lasted about an hour and a half, Lieutenant Goodner at this time was given command of the battalion by the battalion commander. F company was to lead the battalion through the draw to the town of Elsenborn, believed to be in Allied control. The 3rd Platoon was put out at a point and led by 1st Sergeant York. The men underwent intensive artillery and small arms fire and reached Allied lines near Elsenborn at 2100 hours. The men were wet, cold and hungry. The battalion was given up as being lost. And the kitchen on this day had moved from Camp Elsenborn to the town of Elsenborn, in a field, and immediately began digging in. And it just goes on and on. And then it was -- there was one here date where we were -- we went into the attack, and we got -- we had light resistance, and when we got about -- well, it might have been 20 yards in this woods, these Germans were back there with all these guns and firing at us, and they pinned us down. And there was snow up to our waists, and we -- we couldn't do anything. We called for artillery. We had to stay there all night long, and we had nine men that were killed.

Kathy Sheffield:

Wow.

Charles E. Katlic:

And they couldn't get them out. So when they stayed overnight, they froze in the position they were when they got killed. And I remember we had one medic with us, and he got shot in his stomach, and I went over to him to see if I could help him. And he said, well, reach in my bag and get me that morphine shot and give me that shot for the pain. So I did. And I took a blanket and wrapped him in it so he wouldn't go into shock. But he didn't last the night. He died sometime through the night, and that was kind of heartbreaking because I was right there with him. Oh, here -- here's the one I was telling you about, January the 31st of 1945. The weather was misty and cold. At 0100, the awaited attack orders were received. Company left area at 0300 hours and started the movement toward their first objective. Snow was waist-deep and extremely wet as the rain had made a slushy surface on top, causing considerable delay in our advance. At 0600, we had advanced approximately 700 yards. So far no enemy resistance had been encountered thus far. At this point, the 3rd Platoon, led by Lieutenant Woods, deployed to the west along a creek. The 1st Platoon, led by Lieutenant Naberezny, east of the creek and followed by the -- the 2nd Platoon and headquarters, in support, led by Lieutenant York. With Captain Goodner leading the company and overhead covering fire from the light machine gun section, controlled by Lieutenant Brown, the Company moved forward into enemy installations, moving due north through the enemy's outposts, reaching a prominent terrain feature on west end of our objective. It goes on and on and on. And it says, swinging the company due east, we drove the enemy from our objective into a dense woods. Here we were held up by intensive automatic weapons and sniper fire, which at this point inflicted numerous casualties upon our men and medics. Both the men and medics did gallant work in aiding and removing the wounded, despite the Jerries deliberate firing on them. With supporting artillery fire from Division, Corps and Cannon Company and skillfully maneuvering, we were able to drive the Jerries from the woods. Men remained in their positions, four feet of snow, to be precise, the remainder of the night. To eliminate the enemy fire, our own artillery was called for, within 50 yards of our front lines. The men spent a miserable night laying in the snow, wet, cold, hungry, sleepy and tired. Eight men were killed. And it just goes on and on, just -- every -- every day from the time we left Boston until the war was over, it's documented, so ...

Kathy Sheffield:

Well, that --

Charles E. Katlic:

I was lucky to get this.

Kathy Sheffield:

I should say. That -- that encounter there in Belgium, there at Bastogne, the Battle of the Bulge, that lasted for --

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, the Bulge --

Kathy Sheffield:

-- about a month and a half?

Charles E. Katlic:

The Bulge lasted six weeks.

Kathy Sheffield:

Yeah.

Charles E. Katlic:

It was from December the 16th until January the 31st, I believe.

Kathy Sheffield:

Yeah, a long time.

Charles E. Katlic:

We lost 90,000 men, and 19,000 of them were killed, and the rest were prisoners, wounded and -- our biggest problem during the Bulge was trench foot.

Kathy Sheffield:

Yes.

Charles E. Katlic:

If you got your shoes off, your feet would swell and you couldn't get them back on. So we slept in shoes and clothes and everything. I remember being in a foxhole -- there was always two of you in a foxhole. One had to stand guard while the other one slept. And I remember getting up in the morning with that much ice seeped through the foxhole. It was like in a refrigerator, and all we had was one blanket. And that's how my hands got all froze up. You can see the muscles are all gone. Other than that, I'm in good shape.

Kathy Sheffield:

You made it through.

Charles E. Katlic:

Yeah, I did. I sure did.

Kathy Sheffield:

One of the few. Golly.

Charles E. Katlic:

I don't know whether I told you or not, but I get with a lot of the kids, and we put out flags on Veterans' graves in Parker County. And I get this group of kids -- I got a group of high school kids one time, and they were kind of bullying the other kids, so I separated them, put one on each end. Well, this one -- out in the cemeteries, it's private property, so I can talk about God. And I mentioned something about God, and this big kid said, there ain't no God. He said, I don't believe in no God. I said, what are you, an atheist? He said, yeah. I said, well, you believe in God. No, I don't. I said, yeah. I said, you got a car? He says, yes. I said, you love that car, don't you? Oh, I love that car. I said, well, it's your God. Whatever is number 1 in your life is your God. And I said, I'm going to prove to you that there's a God. He said, you can't prove that. I said, yes, I can. I said, when I was up there in the -- went on a patrol up in Elsenborn Ridge, there was a 50-man patrol, we had to go capture some Germans for interrogation, and we got about 20 yards from this woods, and the Germans were back there. They opened up on us with automatic weapons, machine guns and everything they had, rifles. And I saw this shallow -- the snow was waist deep, and when you -- when the artillery hit in the snow, that black dirt would splatter up, so you knew there was a shallow there. So when the artillery started coming, I just run in this hole and jumped in it. And I no more got in the hole than a voice out of nowhere -- I don't know where it came from -- just said, get out of this hole. And I didn't hesitate, and I looked about 20 yards, and there was another hole, and I run and jumped in that, and no more than I got to this hole, the hole I left, there was a mortar shell fell right in the hole. So, you know, the Lord was -- I didn't get a scratch. And guys all around me were getting shot, killed, artillery tearing -- tearing them to pieces. I remember one time we went around and got a shelter half. We always carried shelter halves because we never pitched tents in combat. But they had two halves where you could -- for two guys -- two guys staying together. We went around and got a shelter half when this artillery shell hit. We had to go pick up pieces of this soldier, pick an arm here, and a leg here, and put them in -- got his dog tags, and the grave registration came up and got him. There were a lot of guys that were there, they didn't find them until the thaw, when all the snow melted. That was sometime in the spring, and they would find these bodies.

Kathy Sheffield:

Well, did you make a career of the Army?

Charles E. Katlic:

No. When I got out of the Army, I stayed out a while because I had enough killing, fighting. I wouldn't even go hunting anymore. I used to do a lot of hunting when I was a kid, squirrels and rabbits; but when I came home after the war, I never used my gun for I don't know how long, for years and years, because I just had enough of killing. I just couldn't see killing anything. And these kids would ask me -- said, did you kill anybody? I said, well, that's what I was trained to do. I remember one time we were over there in the Ruhr Pocket, and there was this German tank coming at us, and there was about a 14-year-old kid up in this turret with this machine gun, and I -- I got my -- my carbine I had at that time and I shot him, because if I didn't, he would have killed the whole company. So, you know, they talk about -- like in Vietnam, they called them baby killers. Well, you know, those babies were wired with booby traps. If you go up next to these women or babies, they would blow you up.

Kathy Sheffield:

Yeah.

Charles E. Katlic:

People just don't understand how -- a woman come to me one time, said, how could you guys kill -- see, I wasn't in Vietnam, but I know what it was over there. How could you guys kill babies and women? I said, Lady, were you ever over there? She said, no. I said, well, then, keep your mouth shut, because you don't know, I mean, when -- it's survival. You know, like they're fighting these wars now is useless. I mean, I just see where another guy's being court-martialed for killing -- killing a daggone enemy over there. Heck, when we were over there, if the bush moved, we'd shoot it, because there was somebody behind it. And that's the only way to win a war, kill all your enemy. I mean, it's -- it's hell to say to kill and kill, but it's either you or them. So if you want to survive, you've got to kill, and it's terrible. It's -- war is hell. It's -- and you never get over it. Because I used to wake up a lot of times, when I first came home, at night, wake up, and if I hear a plane or something come over the house, I would go reaching for my gun; I wanted to shoot them.

Kathy Sheffield:

Well, when you got out of the service, what did you do?

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, I went back to work at the shipyards. See, when I -- when I got out of high school, I went to --

Kathy Sheffield:

Machinist?

Charles E. Katlic:

-- to two or three places, and then my father said, you'd better go get a -- learn a trade. So the Coast Guard yard was not too far from me, and they had an apprentice program, and I signed up for diesel equipment mechanic, and out of 300, I was like number 5. And they picked me and took me over there, so I had served about six months of my apprenticeship when I was drafted. I could have gotten a deferment because I was working in a shipyard, but I wanted to go over there and fight. I mean, everybody was patriotic -- after Pearl Harbor, everybody got patriotic. And then when I came back out of the war, I went back to my job and finished my apprenticeship, and I became a machinist, and I worked on all the Coast Guard ships. We built ships; we repaired them. And then, later on, I got the -- got out of there, and went up to the supply department, became a chief of the supply department and the property disposal officer for the whole Coast Guard the whole world. I can remember one time -- this is funny, but it's true -- in inventory management, we would like order things, and sometimes the purchase unit would be different than the issue unit. Like we would buy toilet paper by the case and issue it by the roll. So the inventory management guy, he wanted like 5,000 rolls, well, he -- he got 5,000 cases. And here all the railroad that came into the yard, and it had all these boxcars loaded with this stuff. And the guy come to me and said, what are we going to do with it? I said, what do you mean? He said, we've got about 5,000 cases of toilet paper and no place to put it. I said -- well, if we didn't get the cars emptied by so many days, we had to pay the merge on -- on the freight. So I said, okay. We went and I looked for all the warehouse space I could find. I went and we unloaded it and put it in there. So about a week later, I get a call from Fort Meade. Hey, Chuck, he said, you got any toilet paper? I said, how many rolls you need? What, he said, you've got some? He said -- he said, we've got a paper shortage. I said, no wonder. I've got it all. So then the Naval Academy called me for toilet paper; Aberdeen Proving Ground, all over the place. And I was send- -- and I got all kinds of letters of commendation for how I -- how I got toilet paper to these guys.

Kathy Sheffield:

You were your own little Kimberly-Clark right there.

Charles E. Katlic:

That was really funny, but I made use of it, good use of it. And one time, we had a -- a guy in charge of public works, and you know they have a -- they issue books where all surplus property, another government agency can get it for free. All they have to do is pay shipping. If the government don't want it, then they go to the state governments, and then the county, and the different nonprofit organizations get it. So this one guy, he was in charge of public works, he read in his surplus book where this stuff was that would kill the weeds and defoliagize and all that. Well, come to find out, he ordered a drum of it, and when he got it, it was Agent Orange, and all you've got to do is mix about that much in a gallon of water. He had enough stuff there to kill every tree in that county. So he came to me and he said, I've got this stuff, but I don't know what to do -- I don't want it. I said, what do you want me to do? I can't dump it overboard. I can't bury it. I can't burn it. He said, well, I don't want it. He said, I -- so he dumped it off up there. Okay. So we were loading a bunch of scrap to send to Fort Meade to their disposal officer. So I said, I've got a bright idea. So take that drum and put it all the way in the front of the truck and then throw all the junk on it. So we did and we sent it over to Fort Meade. About a week later, a guy called me and said, you dirty SOB. I said, what's the matter? You stuck me with that drum of Agent Orange. What am I going to do with it? I said, the same thing I did with it.

Kathy Sheffield:

Just pass it on. It's like a Christmas fruitcake.

Charles E. Katlic:

You know, back then, years ago, when I first went to the Coast Guard, they used to -- if you had anything on -- you wanted to get rid of, you'd put it on a ship, and they'd throw it out in the middle of the ocean somewhere, but you couldn't do that anymore. You couldn't bury it; you couldn't burn it. You couldn't do nothing with it, so -- what was I going to do with it, you know. So I sent it over there to Fort Meade.

Kathy Sheffield:

So did you ever marry?

Charles E. Katlic:

Oh, yeah. I married -- I think my first wife I married in '46. We had a little girl. And then she died when the little girl was four. And then I married another woman, and I think when my daughter was about 12, this one died. And then my daughter was going to high school then, so -- and I got married again, and she came and lived with me. And I told her when she got out of high school, I would send her to college because she wanted to be a nurse. Well, she goofed off her first couple of years she got out of high school -- she was -- you know how they do. Finally, about two years later, she said, Dad, I want to go be a nurse. I said, okay. I said, you go -- you work; I said, you go to night school, go to college at night. They had a good nursing college in Catonsville back in Maryland. I said, I'll buy your books, and you're going to pay your tuition. Well, she did. It took her six years. She's been an R.N. now for over 30 years. She moved down to Brownsville and she worked at the medical center for years, and then she got involved in this hospice. There was somebody died and left this house for three -- they made three bedrooms for the hospice people, and before she left, she enlarged it to 10 rooms. She was -- through donations. And now she's in charge of a hospice in the Valley from Brownsville all the way to Mission. She's got the whole Valley.

Kathy Sheffield:

My goodness. That's a nobel work.

Charles E. Katlic:

And then she adopted -- she adopted three Mexican kids, and they're just more patriotic than the kids born here. Well, they were born here, but they were born of Mexican parents, and they didn't want them because -- when my daughter worked in the hospital, the illegal girls, like 14 and 15, would be pregnant, they'd swim across the river and they'd go to the hospital to have this baby, and they didn't want it. So this one doctor came when Charlene was a nurse there and said, Charlene, he said, do you want -- we've got a little boy for you if you want it. She went and looked at it; I'll take it. And he is the smartest thing. He -- he's about 21, and he's -- he's an expert soccer player. They go into Mexico and play. And I guess he'll get a Scholarship for it to go to college.

Kathy Sheffield:

For goodness' sakes.

Charles E. Katlic:

And he's good. And then I've got -- the other boy is -- the grandboy, he's a -- he's on a television station. He wants to be a history teacher. And I sent him all this stuff that I get about the war over to him, and he's making a book on it. And the girl, she -- she moved up to Austin, and she had a little girl, prettiest little girl you ever saw, curly hair.

Kathy Sheffield:

Well, that's --

Charles E. Katlic:

One thing they can't call me is a racist.

Kathy Sheffield:

That's right.

Charles E. Katlic:

My granddaughter on my wife's side, she married -- they were in the Air Force. She married a black guy, and they've got two little kids, but they're -- they're white -- white as you and I are. And then she -- her daughter, she was -- she wasn't married and she wanted to get a baby, but -- you know, because she was a single parent, she couldn't adopt her over here, so they went to China and adopted this little girl, and she's 12 years old now. I think she's in the eighth grade. And she's a cheerleader now. She had to go to this school, and they made her cheerleader. She's done acrobatics; she plays the violin. She just does everything. She's smart as a whip, and patriotic. I get her to help me put out flags, and, man, she's just as proud with them flags, and she just waves that flag. And whenever we have a parade in Weatherford on Veterans Day, I get her to ride in the car or something, waving that flag.

Kathy Sheffield:

Well, that's great.

Charles E. Katlic:

Yeah.

Kathy Sheffield:

Well, is there anything else you would like to add?

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, I don't know, except my heart bleeds for my country --

Kathy Sheffield:

Yes, sir.

Charles E. Katlic:

-- the way it's going. It's terrible. I mean, when we went over there and gave our lives and everything, and come back to this. And I could see it when I came back from the war, how it changed, because all the men were gone, and all they had left were women and children, and they -- they stole our country while we were away. So I don't know how we're going to get it back. But we can't get it back through elections because it doesn't mean anything to vote. Your vote doesn't count for anything. You vote these people in; they do as they please. They don't do what we want them to do. I don't know what the answer is. I hope -- I hope it don't come down to another revolution, but maybe that's the only way we can get it -- I don't know how to get it back. You can't educate -- you know, we try to do it through education, but when you've got half the population can't read or write, how do you educate them, you know? And the -- and the percentage of the people we've got today, they think the government owes them everything. They've got their hand out for everything. We've got 45 million people on food stamps. 45 million. Now, you know, this is -- this is ridiculous, isn't it?

Kathy Sheffield:

If we don't learn from history, we're condemned to relive it, aren't we?

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, we never learn from history. We do the same mistakes over and over again. You know, when our founding fathers founded this country, we were a different kind of people. We were hard workers. And we took immigrants in. My grandparents were immigrants from Czechoslovakia. They learned English. They worked hard. They never went to the government for nothing. My father, when he was a kid -- my grandfather was a tailor, and when my father would come home from school, he'd help to go press the clothes. And back then, they had a big ol' solid iron you put on the stove, and he had to get that thing and pick it up and press those clothes with that. And my father could do anything, and he -- we had nine kids. And he never got a nickel from the government because we were too proud to take it. My grandmother had a farm, and I used to go when I was a kid -- in the summertime, I'd go live with her and I'd work on that farm. She'd get me up at 5 o'clock in the morning, get me breakfast, get me a jug of water, send me out to the field to work, and had -- she had a big bell up on the hill, and she'd ring that bell; that was lunchtime. So I'd go back, had a wagon and a mule -- and I'd go back to the house and I'd eat. And I was so darn tired, I'd go lay under an apple tree, and at 1 o'clock, she said, hey, let's go. She had me up back in that field. And one day I remember picking 100 baskets of tomatoes. You know those half-bushel baskets? And I'd pick that, and I'd carry them out to the road, and I'd get the mule and the wagon, and I set them on the wagon, and we'd take them up to -- we had a spring there. It was like a grove with all trees. And my uncle, he would go to the market, which was in Baltimore -- it was like 25 miles from where we lived. We had about a 50-acre truck farm, and he would take all the produce up there. Well, we had a -- back then, you know, you were lucky to get a dollar for a basket -- a whole basket of tomatoes. And we would have to take these -- all this stuff, we'd have to dump it and repack it. So we'd put the good stuff on top, and hopefully the Commission there wouldn't dump the basket with the bad stuff in it. And if you got a -- if he picked a good basket, you got a good price. And then he'd go to the market about midnight, and he'd come home in the morning and go to sleep, and I'd be out in the field working. I was like 11, 12 years old. But can you get kids to do that today? No way.

Kathy Sheffield:

No. Times have changed.

Charles E. Katlic:

You know, we were raised in the Depression, and we never got one thing from the government. My father, he was a clothing cutter, and he only worked like three days a week, but that was enough to take care of us. And, you know, back then, heck, my mother, she'd take a pot of soup that would feed all of us, and sometimes that soup pot would be there for a week. And I remember she used to bake pies. Apple pie was my favorite. And she'd bake like 12 pies at a time, and she always set one pie on the kitchen windowsill because she knew I was going to steal one, and that made it easy. I'd just go get my pie. But you know what they say? A mother can raise a dozen kids, but 12 kids can't take care of a mother. And my mother worked -- I mean, she lived to be 94, but she did work. I remember, like Monday was maybe wash day. She'd get out there with that old scrubbing board, you know, washing clothes for seven kids, and she'd scrub on that board. And then I remember she'd have a stick, and she'd have -- we'd build a fire outside, and she'd have this big board on her tub, and she'd take the water out of the -- when she's scrubbing, she'd put in another one for rinsing it, and then she rinsed it, and she'd wring all that water out, and then she'd go hang them on the clothesline. That was on a Monday. Tuesday was ironing day. Wednesday was another day. And she had something to do every day. And Friday night -- I was raised Catholic, and we called that fish night, because every Friday night, you could -- we had fish to eat. We never ate meat on Fridays. And we lived near the Severn River, and I used to go do a lot of fishing and crabbing and bring home fish and crabs. I remember one time I went crabbing, and I had a trotline about 100 feet long, and we'd put eels on there for bait. And I went there in the morning just about daylight, and my mother would give me a jug of coffee and a sandwich, and I'd go and lay my trotline out in the river, and I'd bring the boat back to shore, and I'd eat my sandwich and drink my coffee. In about 10 minutes, I'd go out there and go over to the trotline, and in two holes on that trotline, I had two bushels of crabs, and I'd come home. You couldn't get a bushel out there all week now.

Kathy Sheffield:

No.

Charles E. Katlic:

I remember I went back here -- it was a few years ago -- to see my sisters and my brother. He was a commercial crabber and oysterman. And he used to eat crabs -- and over there, they'd just take a big ol' pot and they'd steam these crabs, and they'd -- they'd bring newspapers out on a picnic table, and they'd just dump the whole thing. There was a pot of crabs like that, and I ate the whole paw. I've got pictures of me with the crab shells where I've got them piled up.

Kathy Sheffield:

Pretty good eating.

Charles E. Katlic:

It is. Yeah, I used to do a lot of crabbing and fishing down there, but it was on the Severn River. You could go out to the mouth of the Severn and you'd come to the Naval Academy. And when I was a kid, I used to go fishing, and I used to go -- they had a railroad bridge that went through, and I used to go under a fence and fish off of that railroad bridge, and them security guys, they never would chase me. They let me stay there and fish.

Kathy Sheffield:

Well, sir, I -- I have enjoyed very much talking with you, and thank you so much for your service.

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, I tell you what; like I say, if I thought it would save my country, I would do it again.

Kathy Sheffield:

Yes, sir.

Charles E. Katlic:

But the way they're doing it now, it's not right. Taking our boys over there, just killing, for what? Because we're not accomplishing anything. What are we doing?

Kathy Sheffield:

No, they're being wasted.

Charles E. Katlic:

It's terrible.

Kathy Sheffield:

The best are being wasted.

Charles E. Katlic:

You know, I was talking -- I went to a meeting the other day, and it was this guy -- he has something to do with Right for Life, and he was telling about the reason we have so many illegals is because all of our workers, we've killed them before they grew up. It was through abortion, like we have a million and a half abortions every year. And like he's saying, you know, we're not going by the Bible, we're not obeying God's law, and this is the result, because what you sow, you will reap. And this is what's happened to our country. We've all gotten away from the Bible, God's law, and we're doing it on our own, and we're -- we're not going to make it. You know, we think -- like these -- look at our president, he thinks he's God. These Congressmen, they think they're gods. You know, I see them die every day. So it's just -- I pray a lot for my country. And whenever I get anybody wants to pray -- like they say -- the Bible says that where there's two or more gathered together in my name, I'll be in the middle of you. And like yesterday I went -- the day before yesterday, I went, and I was looking at a house -- because I buy houses at the auctions, you know, the foreclosures, and then I fix them up and I rent them out, because I figure my pension, they can wipe that out tomorrow. I get a civil service retirement. But they're broke. They spent all of our Social Security money, all of our -- there's no money left. So someday down the road, we're not going to get no Social Security; we're not going to get a pension, so I'm trying to get these houses and rent them out, and that way, I'll have a little bit of income coming in. Because your money's no good. You go to the bank, you get one half of 1 percent. So you can't -- you can't increase your -- your assets by keeping it in the bank. So what do you do with your money?

Kathy Sheffield:

Yes.

Charles E. Katlic:

You know, they're printing it so fast that it's becoming worthless. I remember -- I don't remember, but I talked to people in Germany, and also read about it, in 1923, when they had a hyperinflation in Germany, there was a woman had a wheelbarrow full of marks, and at one time, the mark was equal to a dollar because it was all backed up with gold and silver. And then when they got the printing presses and started printing it -- this woman had a wheelbarrow full of marks; it was just falling out of the wheelbarrow. She went into this shoe shop and she let the wheelbarrow sit on the curb. She went into the store; she said, look, I've got so many millions of marks. Can I get a pair of shoes? He said, well, if you hurry up, because the price is going to double in an hour. So she went out to get her wheelbarrow full of marks, well, all of her marks were laying on the street. Somebody dumped all the money out and stole her wheelbarrow.

Kathy Sheffield:

That's what had the value.

Charles E. Katlic:

Because the wheelbarrow -- the wheelbarrow was worth more than all that money. So, you know -- and the same thing's happening here. You go to the store, because every time I shop -- my wife's ... (Off the record.)

Charles E. Katlic:

Okay. Do you have any more questions you want to ask me?

Kathy Sheffield:

Well, I don't think so. If you have anything more to add to your experience during your war service --

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, I remember pulling occupation, and they used to have the displaced persons -- you know, they would come back -- we'd try to place them back in our country, because when Hitler took over, he took all these people from all these countries and made them work in factories and stuff like that. So when they were coming back, we had -- tried to get them back to where they came from. Well, I remember one time, there was a -- I went over and this guy was coming out of a field -- you know, they had these towns built in the middle, and they had all the farmland around. That was to protect them from the robbers and all that came through. So this guy was coming with a wagon, and he said -- I got to talking to him. He said he'd like to have a bicycle. I said, why do you want a bicycle? He said, I want one for my daughter. I said, I'll try to get you one. Where do you live? So he told me. So about the next day, I saw this displaced person coming through riding a bicycle, so I took it away from him, took it over and give it to this man for his daughter. Well, I was like family. He invited me for dinner and supper. And they would drink wine like we drink coffee or tea. They would have wine for breakfast, wine for lunch, and wine for supper. And where we stayed was a place called Randersacker after the war. It was right on the Rhine River, and it was outside of -- that was big hill that they grew all these grapes on top. And they had these big wine vats. Oh, they were as big as this room. And the -- I had to post a guard so that people wouldn't steal the wine. So I got one of these guys from West Virginia in my company -- he was in my squad -- and I put him on guard duty. So two hours, I went to change the guard, and I couldn't find him. He had got into the wine and got drunk, and he was laying up there in the hay somewhere. So I had to put him in jail. We had a -- we had a building there with a cellar, and we had a big iron door on it, and that was our jail where we'd lock these guys up for a day or, you know, until they got sobered up, but I never would post him at the wine cellar anymore.

Kathy Sheffield:

Couldn't trust him?

Charles E. Katlic:

And then we had an Indian in our company from the Navajos, and, you know, they can't -- they get a little bit of whiskey and they go crazy. They can't handle it. This one Indian got ahold of some whiskey, and we had this lister bag in the courtyard where we would eat our meals, and this -- you know, a lister bag has got all these spigots on the bottom, and you go fill your canteens with the water. Well, he got ahold of a rifle and ammo, and he shot that lister bag full of holes, so I had to lock him up. But we had a lot of fun, and it was -- you know, we had to have a little bit of humor.

Kathy Sheffield:

Yes, sir.

Charles E. Katlic:

It was --

Kathy Sheffield:

To get you through.

Charles E. Katlic:

Yeah. And these displaced persons would come in and they'd get off the trains and they'd go around chasing -- grabbing chickens and all that to eat them.

Kathy Sheffield:

Well --

Charles E. Katlic:

And one time, I was guarding a -- we were guarding a railroad bridge, and -- you know, over there, if you had cigarettes, you wouldn't need any money. You could go to Paris with a carton of cigarettes and you could live like a king for a week. So what we would do, I'd get -- I'd get my squad of men, and we'd stay at this house by the railroad where the train was coming, because the Germans were still trying to blow up their bridges and stuff. And I told the guy -- I said, look, you slow that train down and a couple of you get on that car, and throw about four or five cases of cigarettes down. So they would throw them down, and we'd take them back to the company, and everybody would go to Paris. We'd give them a carton of cigarettes and they wouldn't need anymore.

Kathy Sheffield:

Take care of themselves?

Charles E. Katlic:

A pack of cigarettes, you could -- I used to get a haircut and a shave for two cigarettes over there. I'd give the barber two cigarettes, and I'd get a haircut and a shave.

Kathy Sheffield:

Wow.

Charles E. Katlic:

But I was kind of worried about my shaving because he had this big ridge and he could cut my throat. But we did have a -- after the war, we had a lot of fun. And sometimes, even in the war, we -- but, you know, you never -- it was like two of us in the foxhole, and all you knew was your squad because we were spread out so thin. In fact, a lot of times I thought I was up there fighting a war by myself because I didn't see nobody.

Kathy Sheffield:

Gosh.

Charles E. Katlic:

And we were spread out so thin, you know. The foxholes were so far apart, and the snow.

Kathy Sheffield:

Awful conditions.

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, the weather was as bad as them shooting at you.

Kathy Sheffield:

Yeah. Well, sir, we thank you for coming in today --

Charles E. Katlic:

I thank you.

Kathy Sheffield:

-- and participating in this.

Charles E. Katlic:

I think you guys are doing a great thing doing this.

Kathy Sheffield:

Well, I think it's a -- certainly, a very worthwhile program.

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, you know, it's got to be history. I hope people learn from it, but, you know, did they learn anything? I don't know.

Kathy Sheffield:

Well --

Charles E. Katlic:

We've been through these wars -- you know, like World War I, they said that was the war to end all wars. That was just the beginning. We haven't -- I think we had 10 years of peace in between. We were lucky. And there's wars going on every day now.

Kathy Sheffield:

Yeah.

Charles E. Katlic:

You know what I tell people, if my neighbor's got a gun shooting at me, we're in a war.

Kathy Sheffield:

That's pretty true. Well, we thank you very much.

Charles E. Katlic:

I appreciate -- I appreciate you all doing this. This is -- my buddy I brought over, you know, he's -- I take -- whenever I go to Dallas or anywhere, I let him do the driving because I get lost anymore in Dallas.

Kathy Sheffield:

Yeah.

Charles E. Katlic:

So he take -- he took me to the Honor Flight.

Kathy Sheffield:

Good.

Charles E. Katlic:

And he picked me up at the airport. And the -- about the Honor Flight, we got more of a sendoff and a welcome home than we did when we come home from the war. They had bands playing music and hurrah, flags a waving.

Kathy Sheffield:

That's good. Well-deserved.

Charles E. Katlic:

When we got to Washington, they greeted us the same way. And, you know, I can tell you a story about -- this is some of the stories I got from our, you know, guides and all over there. Because we went and saw every monument over there, I think. I went to the Iwo Jima monument, which is the flag raising, and they -- they had a myth going. They said, look, there's 13 hands on that flagpole. Well, you know, I walked around that monument about a dozen times, and I could only count 12 hands because there were only six guys. So we had one of them follow-up meetings, and I asked the guy -- I said, where did that 13th hand come from? He said, well, when those guys were raising that flag, they prayed to the Lord for protection, and he said every one of them got off of the island without a scratch. He said, that 13th hand was the hand of God protecting them. And I thought that was a real nice story. And then Audie Murphy -- he's got -- he was a major -- I didn't know that but he was a major before he died -- I think he died in a plane crash or something.

Kathy Sheffield:

I think so.

Charles E. Katlic:

Well, anyway, he was young when he died. And he was the most decorated soldier in World War II, and he was from Texas. And he had it -- he had it that when he died, he wanted to be buried with the men. He didn't want to be buried as an officer or nothing like that. And the Congressional -- all the Congressional Medal of Honor winners, they have their insignia on the marker in gold. His is in black. And he's buried right next to a corporal. And also, they had a thing going that you put a quarter on his marker. So my -- I didn't have any change, so my guardian gave me a quarter. She said, go put a quarter on that marker, so I did. And come to find out -- we had another follow-up meeting -- I asked why were we putting quarters? Well, Audie Murphy's nickname was two bit. Two bit Murphy, they called him. And so that was -- they would put the quarters on, and they'd take that money and use it for charitable purposes.

Kathy Sheffield:

Wow.

Charles E. Katlic:

So I learned a lot. And I'm 88 -- you'd think I'd know everything at 88, but I'm still learning.

Kathy Sheffield:

Is he buried at Arlington Cemetery?

Charles E. Katlic:

Oh, yeah. I think there's over 300,000 buried there. They have 25 funerals a day, and I think some of them are like backed up two weeks, like the one we have here in Dallas, now that one is filling up. I did about two or three funerals over there as chaplain. They wanted me to do their funerals.

Kathy Sheffield:

Okay.

Charles E. Katlic:

And I think they have about 10 or 15 burials a day.

Kathy Sheffield:

Yeah.

Charles E. Katlic:

And the World War II Veterans, I think the average age is about 93, so, you know, there's -- I think there's less than a million of us left out of 17 million. At the peak of the war, I think there were 17 million people in World War II, military, and now there's -- and like I say now, it's less than a million, and the -- according to statistics, by the year 2020, they will all be gone, which is only, what, nine years away? But I think I'm going to be the last one to go.

Kathy Sheffield:

Well, we'll hope you're still here for a good time to come. Well, we thank you for coming in and thank you for participating in this.

Charles E. Katlic:

I thank you, and I thought it was real interesting.

 
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  October 26, 2011
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