In Memory of
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant
Virgil Raymond Conzemius
Armour, South Dakota
September 23, 1919 – February 13, 1945
Killed in Action at Bettendorf, Germany
Virgil Raymond Conzemius was born September 23, 1919, to
Fred and Anna Conzemius in Charles Mix County. His siblings were Bernard,
Sylvester, Bernadetta, and Marcellus. Virgil’s hometown was Armour. He graduated
from the eighth grade on May 28, 1935, at Youngstrom School in Charles Mix
County. He married Dorothy Kubal on May 16, 1944, at Wagner, South Dakota.
Virgil is remembered as being a very happy young man who was loved by his
family. He also loved music and played the guitar.
On March 18, 1941, Virgil Conzemius entered active service
and was trained at Camp Roberts, California from April 4, 1941 to July 7, 1941.
He had additional training as a rifleman in an infantry battalion. Staff
Sergeant Conzemius served from June 1, 1942, to November 1, 1943, in the
Aleutian Islands, where he participated in the Battle of Attu. He then returned
and was trained at Fort Benning, Georgia to be a paratrooper. However, because
he broke his ankle and it did not heal well, Virgil was transferred to the
Infantry and went overseas on November 1, 1944, as part of Company I, 319th
Infantry. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge. His last letter home to
his parents contained these words:
…Believe it or not but we are finally back off the front
lines for a short rest. The people
in Luxembourg are the swellest people I have ever met. Right now I am staying
in a pvt.
home and sleeping in a bed…. The place where I am staying at is only a half
the Catholic Church. Most all the people here are Catholic and speak of
you have never saw one until you have been in Luxembourg City. Today I washed
and took a bath and changes clothes for the first time in six weeks. Gee Whiz
it sure feels
good to be clean again for a change. I sure hope this rest we are getting now
lasts for awhile.
Pa should be here, he would get along good with the Luxembourg people. The
don’t have any trouble at all saying Conzemius. They say Conzemius is a 100
Luxemboug name. The war news sure looks sure looks
good. Maybe your boy will come to
Momma after all of it…
Staff Sergeant Virgil Conzemius was killed in action on
February 13, 1945, at Bettendorf, Germany. His company was attacking the
Seigfried Line and the Germans counter attacked his company. He was first
declared missing in action but was later found dead by the Rhine River at
Bettendorf. The Chaplin of the 319th Infantry said of Virgil’s death
that it was “heroic, clean, and Catholic.”
First buried in Foy, Bastogne, Belgium, Virgil’s body was
later returned to the United States and he was buried on April 11, 1949, at
Pleasant Ridge Cemetery in Armour, South Dakota. He was awarded the Purple
Heart. According to Diana Clyde, Virgil’s niece, he was honored with a white
cross grave marker at the Luxembourg American Military Cemetery in Luxembourg
City in August of 1945. Relatives and acquaintances visited the cemetery and saw
At the time of his death, Virgil was survived by his
parents, Fred and Anna Conzemius; brothers: Bernard, Sylvester, Marcellus; and
sister, Bernadetta Everett. After Virgil was killed, his wife, Dorothy, gave
birth to a daughter, Virginia Mae Conzemius. Current survivors are Bernadetta
Everett of Olympia, Washington, and Virginia Burwell of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Additionally there are many nieces and nephews in South Dakota, Washington,
Minnesota, Illinois, and Canada.
Left: U.S. Military Cemetery at Foy/Bastogne
in Belgium taken in August of 1945; Right: Christian Krueger, Frank Tuff, and
Virgil (far right). On the photo is the notation that “Christian Krueger saved
Virgil’s life. These two men were Virgil’s best friends.”
This entry was
respectfully submitted by Sheila Hansen, Fallen Sons State Coordinator,
Spearfish, SD. Information for this entry was provided by a niece, Diana Clyde,
Mitchell, South Dakota.