In Memory of
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant
Virgil Raymond Conzemius
Armour, South Dakota
Douglas County
September 23, 1919 – February 13, 1945
Killed in Action at Bettendorf, Germany

Virgil Raymond Conzemius

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 block from
the Catholic Church. Most all the people here are Catholic and speak of beautiful churches
you have never saw one until you have been in Luxembourg City. Today I washed myself
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 people here
don’t have any trouble at all saying Conzemius. They say Conzemius is a 100 percent
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 Virgil’s cross.

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.

U.S. Military Cemetery at Foy/Bastogne in Belgium taken in August of 1945  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.”

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.