One can only
imagine the stress experienced by their parents when all six were
serving in the military at the same time, with the grim knowledge
that any one of them, or all of them might not return home.
Joe Machac was the first of the brothers to join the Army in November,
1941. He was trained as a rifleman and assigned to the 186th Regiment
in the 41st Division. After maneuvers in California, he was sent
to Australia for amphibious training with the Australian Army. The
186th “jungleers” battled the Japanese in New Guinea, Papua, Southern
Philippines and the Bismarck Archipelago. Receiving his discharge
as a Private First Class in August, 1945, he made his home in Schulenburg,
Texas, where he worked at a Ford garage. He and his wife, Beatrice
Kallus, had one daughter.
The second son to volunteer to serve in the U.S. Army was Ben, who
was inducted in March, 1942, a few days before his 25th birthday.
He was assigned to the 90th Division at Camp
Barkeley in Abilene,
Texas, where he received training as a rifleman and was soon
promoted to Rifleman Instructor 745.
After being shipped to England in early 1944, Ben landed on Normandy
Beach June 7, 1944, the day after D-Day. After 33 days of battle,
Ben’s platoon was captured by the Germans. Following a series of
events, he was finally able to escape and joined up with 102nd Division.
Soon thereafter, Hitler surrendered, and Ben Machac was on his way
home. He received his discharge in November, 1945, with the rank
of Technical Sergeant. Ben also returned to Schulenburg,
where he worked at the Western Auto Store and had a milk route.
He and his wife, Henrietta Lednicky, had two sons and a daughter.
The day after his 29th birthday in March, 1942, Henry Machac received
his draft notice. He was sent to Camp
Barkeley in Abilene,
where he was trained as a medic, assigned to the 1247th Service
Unit and transferred to a military hospital near New Orleans. Eventually,
he was assigned to Staten Island, N.Y. to accompany wounded men
from the separation stations to hospitals nearest their hometowns.
Henry received his honorable discharge in January, 1946, married
Annalee Bartosh, had one daughter, and operated a Texaco station
Fred Machac entered active duty in June, 1942, and was assigned
to the U.S. Army Air Force. He was trained as a butcher and served
as a member of the 555th AAF Base Unit in Scotland for two and a
half years. He was discharged as a Sergeant in October, 1945, and
returned to Schulenburg,
where he married Helen Kokes and worked in a feed store. He and
his wife had a son and a daughter.
George Machac was drafted into the Army in August, 1942, just a
few months before his 21st birthday. After being qualified as a
Rifle Sharpshooter, he was shipped to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater
as a member of Company C, 223rd Engineers, with his primary duty
being a construction machine operator. He was involved with the
building of airstrips, roads and campsites. After three and a half
years in the service, George was discharged in January, 1946. He
returned home to Schulenburg,
married Mildred Genzer, had three daughters and worked at Barcher’s
Although the youngest son, Paul, was only 17 when his other brothers
entered the armed forces, he knew that he would be drafted before
the war came to an end. He was inducted in September, 1944, at
age 19 and was sent to Camp Hood. After being trained as a Qualified
Rifleman, Paul was assigned to the 106th Infantry Replacement Division
and shipped to Europe. After Germany surrendered, he was transferred
to the 3rd Armored Division to guard captive German troops at a
prisoner-of-war camp and then to the 1st Armored Division, where
he served as a cook. Paul was discharged in October, 1946, but
signed up for the reserves, remaining on inactive duty until December,
1949. After marrying Lillian Recek, Paul and his wife moved to
Houston, Texas, where
he worked at the Suniland Furniture Store for 47 years. He and
Lillian had two sons and a daughter.
It was quite remarkable that all six of the Machac brothers returned
home without injuries, which was a joyous relief for their family,
who was thankful to be one of the lucky ones!
Farek, Florence Hertel. World War II Memoirs, Houston, Texas: 1998.
July 1, 2014 Guest column
WWII | WWI
| Columns | Texas
Town List | Texas