Dale F. Machart served with the U.S. Army – 1943-1946
Dale Machart was born in a farm house 7 miles from Jennings, Kan. Dale’s parents acquired the farm through the Homestead Act of 1909. He remembers that his parents acquired 320 acres for $18.
Dale was the oldest son and he was expected to help in all aspects of farming. It was during the Dust Bowl and Depression years. They had no electricity, no water in the house, and of course, no indoor bathroom. They pumped water and carried it to the house, and walked a half of a block to the outhouse. They survived on what they raised on the farm. They were poor, but they did not know it.
Dale remembers the chickens went to roost at two in the afternoon, because the dust was so thick and dark, it had blotted out the sun and the chickens thought it was night time. Dale learned virtues from being raised on that farm. He learned how to survive in difficult times. The neighbors all pitched in together to survive.
The pot-bellied stove kept the house warm. At night going to bed was cold, so they took bricks, heated them in the stove, wrapped them in towels, and put them in their beds for warmth. The heat did not last long, but it helped a bit.
Dale met his wife Margie and they were married in Lamar, Neb. He proposed to her on the porch of the largest peanut butter factory. Dale and Margie were married for 66 years.
He attended the Success Business College in Denver and worked a temporary job at the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad.
Dale and Margie were busy setting up their lives and making plans when Dale received a draft notice six months after they were married. He was inducted into the Army in Leavenworth, Kan. Dale went to basic training in California. He still uses the skills he learned in basic training to this day. He still lines his clothes up in his closet just as he was trained to do in basic training, all perfect hung with the buttons all facing the same way. Dale was assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas, as a supply sergeant.
Dale received orders to board a troop train going to New York City, where he boarded the Queen Mary which had been converted to a troop ship. The Queen Mary was painted olive drab to be camouflaged. There were 15,000 troops on the ship. They landed in Glasgow, Scotland, because it was the only port large enough for the Queen Mary. Dale remembers the ship zig-zagging so that submarines could not target the ship.
The troops were busy doing anti-aircraft artillery training and learning to distinguish the sound of our machine guns from the German machine guns. It was good training. Dale and his fellow troops landed in France where Dale was part of the 599th Artillery Battalion who had the responsibility of shooting down any enemy planes. They were kept busy.
Page 2 of 2 - He and his fellow troops traveled with their gear and dug many foxholes. No matter the weather, they slept on the ground with a blanket. They carried an M-1 rifle. They had K-rations to eat, but were treated to Spam at times. Dale still loves Spam to this day, which many people do not understand!
The greatest sight Dale ever saw was the sight of the Statue of Liberty upon returning to the United States. Since Dale had some seniority with his temporary job at the railroad, when he returned from the war he continued to work there until he retired after 43 years.
Dale and Margie have three children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Dale does a lot of work for his church and does hospital ministry to the ill.
Dale had the fortunate experience of boarding the Queen Mary a second time 38 years after he boarded it originally, but this time it was dry-docked in Long Beach, Calif., and had been converted to a hotel. He and his wife stayed there as a special anniversary treat.
Dale learned a lot from his time in the military. Dale says it is important to weave into the fabric of our lives two virtues; desire and determination. We all have them and should put them to work.
Peggy Sowders, a city of Independence staff member, compiles stories from veterans from around the area at the Truman Memorial Building. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-325-7979 if you are interested in helping a veteran tell his or her story.