Clarence Meinhardt

Greenwood, Clark County, Wisconsin

 


On Saturday, September 12, a new face met us at the window of the Greenwood Post office. Yet this was not a new face, either, since Clarence Meinhardt has been around these parts for most of 45 years. He grew up in the Rocky Run area, and graduated from ‘Greenwood High School in 1936.


As he enters upon his service as the new postmaster, Clarence brings to it a varied and interesting background. He came from high school during the depression. Since there was little employment, he entered the Civilian Conservation Corps. At the time, it was Just something to do. The older he gets, the more he is impressed with the impact of the CCC upon the state. He thinks of this every time he goes to Tioga, and drives through trees planted under this program. Wisconsin has much so-called waste-land. Clarence believes that this is not waste-land, but very productive in forest products, recreation, and wild-life. It is also an important reservoir of run-off water.


Clarence came home, and began farming with his brother Elmer.  But he needed more education, so he enrolled at Stevens Point Teacher's College.  He passed the physical exam for the draft, but was deferred while in classes.  As soon as school was out in the spring, Uncle Sam issued his customary greeting.  Clarence chose the Air Force and entered the 12th Bombardment Group, 81st Squadron. This was the first full American Group to go into action in the Middle East. This group was responsible for stopping Romnmel’s advance in the Libyan Desert. After one years training, on July 15, 1942 they flew with new 11-25’s to Palm Beach, Florida, then across to Khartoum. Sudan, and then to Deverswar, Egypt. After returning safely from two daylight bombing missions against General Rommel’s army, Clarence’s plane was shot down by German Antiaircraft fire. He was the only survivor of a crew of 5, and he was both wounded and burned.


He was given three months care in German military hospitals, then taken to an interrogation camp at Frankfort, where he endured eight days of solitary confinement. He was grilled daily by the Gestapo and the SS troopers. He almost died from the stifling heat, but refused to give any information other than name, rank, and serial number. The Nazis moved him
from Stalag 7A to LUFT 3, then to Stalag Luft 1, then back to Stalag 7A, then to Stalag 17, near Krembs, Austria.

 

Just before the end of the war, the prisoners were marched 17 days to the west.  The Germans hated the Russians so much that they did not wish to surrender the prisoners to the Russians.  After about a week without food, shelter or care, they were liberated, together with 4,500 other prisoners, by three jee-loads of American officers.

 

After his war experience, Clarence returned to Greenwood, married Vera Buchholz of Loyal, and set about serving his community as a civilian.  He farmed until a year and a half ago. But he has served well in other respects: twelve years a director of the Greenwood Milk Products Cooperative; two years on the Board of the Greenwood Cooperative (Midland) seven years as a director of the Warner Mutual Fire Insurance, where he was also adjustor, vice president, and president. He gave four years of service on the board of the Greenwood Community Schools, and has served Immanuel United Church of Christ for x years as financial secretary.


He has no regrets from his service experience, and holds no grudge, although he hopes It will never happen again. If It did, however, he would again fight for his country. He says that this type of experience jars one loose from old ruts, and gives a new perspective. Of all the citations, he values most the Purple Heart which he received, besides a Presidential Citation.
 

Clarence believes that the Postal Department has a sacred trust to the people, and a most intimate relation to the community. lie hopes, as time goes on, to learn to know the department, and to inform the people who are served by this office as to what they can expect. He believes that the more Information people have, the better they will be able to use the set’- vices of the Postal Department.


He and his wife Vera have one son, Ronald, who has already entered Eau Claire State College, as a pre-engineering student.


We wish Clarence every success and happiness, as he enters upon a new phase of service to his country.

 

Source: "Meet The Folks" by Arvid Myhrwoid, Greenwood Gleaner (Sept. 1964)

 

Stevens Point , Wisconsin Central State Teachers' College

In 1927 Stevens Point Normal School became Central State Teachers College and began offering four-year teaching degrees. When post-World War II enrollment became less centered on teacher training and more focused on liberal arts education, the Wisconsin State Legislature intervened, elevating the school to a Wisconsin State College with the authority to grant bachelor's degrees in liberal arts.

 

 


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