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PFC Warren G. Stichtenoth
Company C, 310th Engineer Battalion
85th 'Custer' Division
PFC Stichtenoth served in the 310th Combat Engineer Battalion with the 85th Division and his unit was assigned to support the infantry of the 339th "Polar Bear" Regiment. He was a skilled artist. This might seem strange to some people but the engineers would probably need a good artist to sketch drawings for their work.
The above photo is a unique casual portrait of him wearing a battle jacket that has the 85th "CD" patch. He is also wearing the DUI pin of the 310th Combat Engineer Battalion on his cap.
Before the War
Warren Stichtenoth was born on January 18, 1925 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the older of two children of George and Irma (Poetker) Stichtenoth. Warren has a younger sister named Betty. George Stichtenoth served in the Army during World War I. Genealogy records show George as being in the Army Signal Corps, but Warren remembers hearing about his father being a gunner on a Spad fighter plane. Warren’s grandfather was Charles Stichtenoth who died before Warren was born. Warren’s great grandfather was Louis Stichtenoth, a German immigrant and veteran of the Civil War, having served with the rank of Corporal in B Company, 165th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 1864.
His experience in Italy in his own words
"Upon graduation from Withrow High School in Cincinnati in 1943, the draft awaited me and the United States Combat Army Engineers was to be my life for almost three years. After training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and learning how to build and destroy bridges at Fort Belvoir, VA, I shipped overseas to join a combat battalion with the 85th Custer Division serving in Italy. However my first stop was a replacement depot in southern Italy.
"My art, again, came into play at this time, and actually saved my life in a most unusual way. It seems that a number of fellows coming into the replacement depot wanted to identify themselves with their home state, so many of them drew pictures of their state and lettered the state name on the back of their combat jackets. I, of course, joined in and after lettering and drawing on my jacket, I found myself doing the same for many other buddies from all over the country. This practice led one of the officers to ask if I would draw a picture of his girl friend for him. In order to do this, I was allowed to miss the everyday drills, marches and general training we all were required to do. After roll call, I was dismissed and told to report to one of the officers for special duty. He would then send me to my tent and there I would work on the portraits. Other officers followed the first and before long I was set up to do a number of girl friends, wives, mothers etc, etc. Working from small, faded, cracked wallet size photos made the challenge even more difficult. The normal, average time a replacement remained in camp before assignment was about a week at the most. For me, one week ran into two, two into three and I was still there drawing every day. The fellows would come into camp and ship out, but not until the fourth week did I get my assignment to join the 85th Infantry Division, fighting at that time at “Monte Cassino”.
"How did the art I was doing save my life? Well, my name had come up for ‘ship out’ on three different lists, but because I was still working on an officer’s wife’s portrait, my name was removed from the list. One of the shipments I was to be on went to the Anzio beachhead – and I later found that the group I was to be with was completely wiped out while attacking the beachhead. All were lost.
"After the 4th week in the replacement depot, my time had come, and I joined the 3rd squad, 1st platoon, ‘C’ company, 339th combat battalion, 85th Infantry Division (as part of the 310th Combat Engineers). There started my acquaintance with Italy and the long journey up the “boot”. In order to keep a record of this long trip, I kept a sketching log of many of the interesting encounters we experienced. Yes, and before long I was doing sketches of some of my squad buddies. They sent them home to their families. One more way I was able to keep my hand in the art area.
"Italy, being a country known for its great art over the centuries, added real value to my art experiences. Many of the master’s work had been removed to hiding places to protect them from being destroyed. Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice and many small villages still had much to offer the art student, even in those war years."
Quoted from an autobiography written in 1987. End of Quote.
DUI Pin of the
310th Engineer Battalion.
Pin is worn on Warren's hat in top photo.
The pin for the 339th Infantry Regiment also has a Polar Bear on it, which denotes their service in Russia in WW1.
Falling two points short of going home, PVT Stichtenoth found himself in Leghorn, Italy, in early August. He boarded the USS General M.B. Stewart (AP-140), which was bound for a destination in the Pacific via the Panama Canal with more than 3000 US Servicemen. Departing from Leghorn on August 7, the ship headed first to Gibraltar and then into the Atlantic Ocean. Word of an “atomic bomb” was heard on-board followed by news that the Russians had joined the war in the Pacific. The vessel and its passengers were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on August 14 when news came of the Japanese surrender. The next day the ship’s captain received new destination orders and set a course to the northwest for New York. The USS General M. B. Stewart, full of happy servicemen, arrived in New York harbor on August 19, 1945.
As Warren Stichtenoth tells the story, the troops on board heard that the ship’s captain may have secured the help of a brother in the Pentagon who arranged the change in destination. The majority of the servicemen on-board were part of non-combat units, including the 715th Railway Operations Battalion, the 31st Ordinance Heavy Maintenance Company, the 576th Signal Service Company, and others. As Stichtenoth recalls, the combat veterans had three days to teach the non-combat units how to march and carry a rifle so as to appear like battle-tested troops when they arrived in New York.After the War
Warren Stichtenoth enrolled at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Applied Art in January, 1946, thanks to the GI Bill. While at UC he became a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and the National Honor Society, and was the first UC student to serve as editor of the UC yearbook, and President of Student Council. He earned a degree in Industrial Design and began a career in commercial art and advertising in 1949. He married a longtime childhood friend, Suzanne Bailey in November, 1949. Warren’s first job was as an advertising layout artist for the Mabley & Carew department store. After a year and a half, he had the opportunity to join a nationally ranked advertising agency. Warren worked for sixteen years with this agency which became known as John L. Magro Advertising, Inc., with offices on the 45th floor of the Carew Tower in Cincinnati.
Warren was an active member of the Cincinnati Men’s Art Club, and by the early 1960’s, Warren was becoming a recognized local artist. He was featured in one-man shows and multi-artist shows over the years and became known for his scenes and skylines of Cincinnati. He developed a lasting relationship with the Greene Line Steamer Co., owner of the Delta Queen Steamboat, which for many years was the last remaining paddle wheeler carrying overnight passengers plying the inland rivers of America. Warren designed a number of promotional items to help celebrate the river boat company’s 75th anniversary. He held a one-man art show on the Delta Queen in 1965, with all the paintings depicting scenes of the steamboat. The art show went on a tour of American river cities and was featured in cities like Louisville, Memphis, St. Louis, New Orleans, and others, earning a special national public relations award for the Delta Queen. This led to two similar art shows, one commissioned by the governor of Kentucky to promote tourism throughout the state, and one for the city of St. Louis with a similar objective. The Kentucky project involved traveling the entire state with his family for a year, resulting in a collection of 40 paintings and sketches titled “A Neighbor Discovers Kentucky” that became a traveling art show in 1967 that visited many cities and towns throughout the Midwest. For the St. Louis project that was initiated the following year, Warren painted a number of pictures that featured St. Louis’s Gateway Arch, which at that time was still under construction.
Warren left the Magro agency in 1965 and started his own commercial art and graphic design business. However in 1970, Warren accepted a marketing position with one of his major clients, SteelCraft Manufacturing Company, which later became a part of American Standard Corporation. During those years, Warren continued to pursue a number of interesting art projects as well. These included producing a series of limited edition prints of famous Cincinnati landmarks and scenes. Then there was “The Queen City”, a full color limited edition print available in two sizes, which showed a skyline view of downtown Cincinnati, as seen from the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. In 1976, Warren created a series of eight special drawings to commemorate the bicentennial celebration of Delhi Township, the part of Cincinnati where Warren and Suzanne lived with their two sons. In 1977, he did the art for the first of a series Christmas cards for the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Cincinnati. This series of cards, featuring historic winter city scenes, continued for eight of the next ten years. Larger limited edition prints of four of the cards were later made available to local businesses through the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. Throughout the years, there were many other special projects and commissions too numerous to mention here.
retired from Steelcraft in 1990, yet he continued his series of special art posters saluting SteelCraft’s annual participation in the annual NSDJA convention until 1995. That series of 12 pieces, featured convention cities such as Boston, San Antonio, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Nashville and others. Warren and Suzanne became residents at Maple Knoll Village, a retirement community in Warren . For a number of years, Cincinnati Warrentaught an art class for seniors at Maple Knoll, in association with the ’s Institute for Learning in Retirement. For many years Suzanne taught a yoga class. Universityof Cincinnati
Warren’s last major piece of original art was a tribute to the history of on the occasion of its 150th anniversary in 1998. That piece, entitled “Visions Reflected”, won local and regional awards and went on to earn the People’s Choice Award at the Ohio Statewide Art and Writing Exhibition in 2000 sponsored by the AOPHA. Maple Knoll Village passed away on Warren November 26, 2005, and his wife Suzanne passed away on April 12, 2006. The Warren Stichtenoth Art Gallery, containing twenty five of the artist’s paintings and drawings, many showing historic scenes of the Cincinnatiarea, was dedicated on August 12 2006in the Breese Manor section of Maple Knoll Village, 11100 Springfield Pike, Cincinnati, OH
External Links to sites mentioned in above text: Maple Knoll Village & AOPHA
Photos of two drawings from a battlefield sketchbook that PFC Stichtenoth used from December, 1944 through March 1945. The two scenes photographed here were inked in, while the remaining scenes in the sketchbook were in pencil.
This sketch was entitled “Home Sweet Home” across the top. Below the picture reads
“about 18 miles north of Florence, 12/11/44”.
This sketch was entitled “One of Our Hard Days” across the top.
Below reads “Somewhere in Futa Pass, 12/14/44”.
Two examples of portraits drawn by PFC Stichtenoth. These sketches were given to his buddies, who mailed them home to their families. PFC Stichtenoth's buddies contacted him later and sent copies of his drawings to him.
Portraits are of Rusty Draper, a truck driver with the engineers, and Tom Harrison.
A photo of Mr. Stichtenoth taken in September, 2003.
He is holding the framed set of six portraits surrounding his Army photo. These photo copies were were returned to him over the years. Many more are still out there, somewhere.
The identities of four of the GI’s:
Upper left – Rudy Hamilton – of
Lower left – Rusty Draper – truck driver (see enlargement above)
Upper center – unidentified
Lower center – J. Cardillo
Upper right – unidentified
Lower right - Tom Harrison
(see enlargement above)
The photos and detailed biography were graciously provided by Craig Stichtenoth, the son of PFC Warren Stichtenoth. If you would like to contact Craig, you may email me at Steve Cole.
C, 310th Engineers - A
group photo of members of Company C, 310th Combat Engineer Battalion
Camp Shelby, MS in February 1943, at the same time the individual photo at top of this page.
See Operational Report of 310th Engineer Battalion - Operational Report is a month-by-month description of how the combat engineer built bridges and roads and forded rivers under enemy gunfire. It mentions every combat casualty but does not give their names.
Go to Desert
Warfare Training for maps and info on the camps in southern
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