Sunday, August 26, 2007

RE: Irv Elias

This gentlemen contacted me a few weeks ago about Irv Elias' passing. Several people have contacted me directly about Irv as they used to see both of our names on the Evening News credits. If you feel the information worth to put on the web site, feel free to post the attached letter. It's great to know that so many of our group have touched so many people in so many ways.


Gayle P. De Poli


1-877-840-2030 e-fax domestic

1-203-724-2007 e-fax international

I wish to thank you both for your time.  It means more than you will ever know regarding your time and communications and conversations with me. 

Many things have taken place since the awareness of Irv’s death and even my conversations with both of you.  We have “BEEN LUCKY” regarding a furnace problem that was putting “Carbon Monoxide” into our home and then shortly after a new furnace installation with “LEAKING GAS” that we “LUCKED” through. 

Maybe I’m just more sensitive with our family members again serving our country, but it feels and seems like someone is looking out for us.

I completed some editing on information that may be partially included on the CBS retiree web site and included a poem sent to us.

(lengthy letter follows:)

August 26, 2007

Awhile back I learned of the passing of my old friend Irv Elias, on July 14, 2006.  I met Irv in February of 1964 when we were assigned to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey for the same electronic training.  Four young soldiers started Advanced Individual Training (AIT) electronic training together in February. We graduated from electronics school in July of 1964 and were transferred together to White Sands, New Mexico.  Irving S. Elias, William H. Craig, Leroy C. Cash and Roger P. Frackman then  served together at White Sands Missile Range until May of 1965. All four then also were assigned together to American Forces Korean Network (AFKN) in Korea.  AFKN, a component of AFRTS Armed Forces Radio and Television Services, operated a number of communication sites around Korea. Some sites were television broadcast sites, some were radio, some both, and some were microwave rebroadcast sites. All four soldiers served in Korea at various sites until completion of our tours. Upon completion of our tours in Korea, Irv and I returned together to my tiny hometown of Jasper, Minnesota.

Irv’s duty station, Pajuri, was within the 2nd Infantry Division area located near the De-Militarized Zone. During our tour of duty in Korea, Irv received a commendation from the Commanding General of 2nd Infantry Division. He received the commendation for capturing a “Korean national” thief that was stealing copper and other electrical components from the power generation buildings at the AFKN site. The copper would be sold on the “black market” since stealing copper was quite lucrative for successful thieves. Irv’s capture of the thief was successful due to Irv’s “outside the box” firing a burst from his weapon at full automatic through the ceiling of the generator shed. It was an “unauthorized activity” but the old adage says, you cannot argue with success.

Taking medical shots was a less than pleasant process, especially the shots of gamma globulin given for hepatitis. They were such a bother for me that I quit taking the shots. I was very foolish to do this and it was risky behavior and I certainly forgot about the requirement that shot records required completion by the medical facility upon completion. When it came time for us to return to the states together, it was determined that I would be unable to leave at the same time as Irv. My transfer date back to the States became an unknown. It was just a horrible problem for us and we did not know how to fix the problem.

I was between a rock and a hard spot because I would be in trouble for not taking the shots, but finally reported the problem to the unit 1st Sergeant. He was really angry and then presented the issue to our unit commander LTC. Harry Bangs. I remember “standing at attention” with LTC. Bangs giving me the riot act. Out of the corner of my eye I caught Irv trying to signal me from behind LTC. Bangs. Of course LTC, Bangs notices my eyes darting back and forth and turns around. Well right away he notices it is Irv. Irv was high on LTC Bang’s list. Irv had received the commendation from the 2ndID General. The commendation also reflected highly on AFKN’s commander, LTC Bangs. Irv indicated to LTC Bangs that we no longer had a problem and that LTC Bangs should not ask any questions as to how the problem went away.
Irv took the problem into his own hands and while many of us were running around helter-skelter, “obtained or liberated” copies of the necessary medical clearance forms. We then sat down and forged the signatures necessary to allow me to have medical clearance, although had our forgeries been noticed we probably would have spent some time in the stockade. He was a great friend to me and bailed me out of trouble on more than one occasion.
We spent some leave time together in Jasper and had many unusual (for a New York City kid) events take place during his visit.  Irv previously had never fired a pistol and we had wonderful times plinking targets and also shooting gophers in the farmer’s fields near Jasper.

We were able to purchase many dozens of packages of firecrackers due to Jasper’s proximity to the Minnesota-South Dakota border. The purchase of fireworks is legal in South Dakota, but not in Minnesota. Upon returning from one of many trips we started throwing packages of firecrackers out the window of the car. We pulled into a parking spot on the main with Irv still throwing packages out the window. The Village constable unseen by us approached the car and just as he arrived Irv threw another long string of firecrackers out the window and it landed on the shoulder of he police officer. Suffice to say that small town atmosphere and my family’s personal friendship with the police went a long way towards smoothing the incident over.
Our leave time was nearly up and Irv traveled back to New York to complete his final tour of duty. Irv’s final assignment prior to discharge was at West Point.  I was assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas for my discharge, but shortly after Irv’s departure my father had a heart attack and I remained in Jasper operating our family business until shortly before my enlistment completion in November 1966
I would like somehow to be able to send a card to Irv’s sisters and family and try to convey my sympathy.   Irv was the embodiment of quick thinking and resourcefulness when a buddy, me, was in trouble.  When I became aware of his passing I spent some time looking through old photographs and found a letter that he had written to me from White Sands in December of 1964 while I was home in Minnesota on leave.  He was quite proud regarding winning some money playing poker and also having passed his military drivers license examination.

He called me Bi-nocks because of the glasses I wore and we had an ongoing teasing and harassment with each other. For many years after staying at my parent’s home during the summer of 1966 Irv sent Christmas cards to my mother.  She would remark to me from time to time also that she had seen Irv’s credits on TV. I visited my mother recently and chatted with her about a number of different issues. It’s always difficult carrying on a meaningful conversation with mom because she is suffering from increasing dementia. It was not long after learning of Irv’s death. I asked if she remembered Irv. She said “Oh, yes” and then went on to recall some things that happened years ago. Somehow it seemed so great that she remembered our friend also.
We lost contact when I moved to Alaska in 1971.

Roger P. Frackman
3641 Spinnaker Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99516

My stepson is now nearing completion of his AIT Army training at Fort Eustis, Virginia. My wife also has a niece that is assigned to a Coast Guard Cutter with duty off the east coast of the United States. I recently received the attached poem in an email from her. It was just so appropriate that I had to include it with my note about Irv.

Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city that has no end,
yet the days go by and weeks rush on,
And before I know it, a year is gone.
And I never see my old friends face,
For life is a swift and terrible race,
He knows I like him just as well,
As in the days when I rang his bell.
And he rang mine but we were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men.
Tired of playing a foolish game,
Tired of trying to make a name.
"Tomorrow" I say! "I will call on Jim
Just to show that I'm thinking of him."
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,
And distance between us grows and grows.
Around the corner, yet miles away,
"Here's a telegram sir," "Jim died today."
And that's what we get and deserve in the end.
Around the corner, a vanished friend.

Remember to always say what you mean.
If you love someone, tell them.
Because when you decide that it is the right time it might
be too late. Seize the day. Never have regrets.
And most importantly, stay close to your friends
and family, for they have helped
make you the person that you are today