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Old 05-27-2002, 09:42 PM
45thinfgrl 45thinfgrl is offline
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Post Choctaw Windtalker

My Great Uncle was the last Choctaw Code Talker. This is a newspaper article from my grandmothers Bible....

Schlicht Billy
?the rest of the story

Last week, we introduced you to Schlicht Billy, a full blood Choctaw who served his country through many campaigns in the European theater of the war until injury ended his service career.
Schlicht signed up for the Army when he was 18, not waiting for the draft to call him up. He served in the 45th Infantry, 180th Infantry Regiment, Company K, and then Company F. He advanced in the enlisted ranks to Platoon Sergeant, then received a battle field commission of Second Lieutenant. In addition to being an infantryman and platoon leader, and later commander, Schlicht was one of a group of less than 50 known as ?Choctaw Code Talkers?. These Native Americans transmitted messages in the Choctaw language during times when this skill was needed, and the code was never broken. It had been used successfully in WWI by Choctaws on the front line, after other codes had been broken. It was used again in WWII. In the Pacific, Comanche Code Talkers performed the same service to assist against the Japanese and these codes were never deciphered by the enemy.
After Schlicht had stormed, by running through a hail of machine gun fire, a deadly pillbox on the Siegfried Line and disabled it by climbing to the top and tossing a smoke bomb down the vent shaft, he was injured in the concussion caused by a heavy artillery shell. One side of his body was paralyzed. His comrades got him out through the fighting by putting him on a tank. He was taken to a hospital in Nancy, France, and then to Bordeaux.
From there he went to Naples, and then traveled on a hospital ship to Fort Devins, the last place he had been stationed before he began the process of going overseas.
He was recovering, but when he reached the hospital in Massachusetts he was still unable to walk. It would be over two years before he was discharged from the hospitals he?d been sent to.
By the time he got to O?Riley General Hospital in Springfield, Missouri, he was able to enjoy some of the things arranged for patients able to ride buses. There were tours of points of interest and different groups came in to entertain the soldiers. He believes the hospital site is now used as a minimum-security prison for white-collar criminals, especially government officials sentenced to jail terms.
When he came back to Oklahoma, he went to Bacone, at Muskogee, then he went to a two year school to become a master baker. Here he encountered the third German who had an effect on his life.
A German chemist, Dr. Shefalbrish was the master teacher.
He asked Schlicht, who had spent several years fighting the Germans and more recuperating from wounds received, how he felt about returning and going to school under a German national.
He was an intelligent man, a remarkable teacher,? he says. ?If we could all go back to school and had people like him to teach?.He was concerned about his students.?
Baking is a science, Schlicht points out, that involves a knowledge of chemistry. ?Everything is a combination of something. We had our laboratories, and we went to school six days a week.
?The first week we started out on wheat. He gave us 700 different wheat?s to determine the protein content, water absorption, what products we?d get with different wheat. Hard winter wheat is used to make the light bread. The spring wheat is softer, and is used for making cakes.
?We studied sugars, and the 54 different kinds of sweeteners.?
Schlicht studied hard, as did his classmates. There?s no foolishness about the bakery business, he pointed out. Everything has to be in balance. When you look at a loaf of bread, you look for the symmetry; cut it to check the texture and see if it has holes. It looks like a lavender when you first look at it.
Different types of wheat produce the different types of bread. For example, Roman meal is used for diet bread.
Water also affects the bread. The Ph quality (the hydrogen/iron concentration) that tells the alkali/acid side, affects the bread. You want the water slightly on the acid side to help develop glutton, the dough structure.
When Schlicht had finished the school, he was a master baker. He knew the science and the art of the bakery business. He also had learned all the machines used in bread making, and could run them all. He went for a while to Birmingham to work for McGaugh; then he returned to Oklahoma to work at Tastee Bread and Pastry. Finally, he worked at McAlester at Wholesome Bakery.
It was after he had finished the course that he met his wife, who was then Edith Wesley. They have been married 40 years, in February of this year.
Schlicht always worked for a big outfit, and he worked as a union baker all of life. At wholesome, the machinery ran 75 loaves a minute. Schlicht says that a part of the union contract was to their advantage. They could hire more people and get out a quality product. Some of the larger companies run 120 loaves per minute, but it is purely automatic, and the quality of the product suffers.
When he first started in the business, they had machines, but not like the ones they have now.
Bakery business is fast work, Schlicht says, especially when things are assigned by schedule. When you clock in, its time to go to work. If you want a drink, the floor man will relive you, as the machines keep moving.
Schlicht studied and knew the business. He knew how all of the machines worked and could do anything in the business when he finally retired.
It was different work from his Army life. When asked if things seemed a bit tame, Schlicht said that it was different. In the Army, you were used to being with people you know and know their capabilities. Time moved faster in production work, and so it was a different life.
After Schlicht retired with 25 years of service in the bakery business, he has spent a good deal of his time in and out of the hospitals. A lot of his trouble is related to the war injury. A persistent infection has been in his system. He had a blockage in his heart, and an infection in the heart. Every time they stuck a needle in him, the spot got infected. A specialist from New York was flown in to the VA hospital in Oklahoma City, to get the situation under control. A pacemaker was put in, then a wire cracked and they had to take him back, and then he had a kidney infection.
He?s been told that the older the gets the more his injuries will bother him. The health situation is now under control, but he has problems with the circulation in his feet. They were both frozen during one of his winter campaigns in Europe, and he has to have therapy for them. Some of the medication that has been used on him was in the experimental stages, but he says that he has had very good care from the Veterans Administration hospitals.
Schlicht and Edith have two sons. While the boys were in school, the family lived in McAlester, but after the retired, they moved to Blanco. Edith?s mother, who died when Edith was small, had left some property to her children. Her sister was wanting to sell her part, and Edith and Schlicht bought that. They also bought the land next to (continued) Missing page.
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Old 05-27-2002, 11:25 PM
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Keith_Hixson Keith_Hixson is offline
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Post Thank You!!

Thank you for sharing this with all of us!

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