Testimonies from the Midwest

 

Army Pfc. Dwayne Awdrey Blocker, Co. C, 346 Inf. Regt., 87th Division

ggArmy Pfc. Dwayne Awdrey Blocker  Division patch Photo of  Dwayne Awdrey Blocker

Dwayne Awdrey Blocker was born on May 20, 1926 at Mitchell, South Dakota. Of German heritage, Dwayne was raised as a Lutheran and attended high school before entering the service on September 26, 1944.

Service Record: Pfc. Blocker served as a rifleman and in the First Army's HQ Officers' Mess and Officers' Club. He participated in campaigns in the Rhineland and central Europe as part of the 87th (Golden Acorn) Division.

Camp Encounter: (told in his own words) I was a replacement with C-346, 87th Division from about 2/26/45 through 4/26/45. I had no direct contact with a concentration camp liberation. We saw some aftermath of these infamous camps. Our Company, at one instance, was in charge of guarding 40 or so German prison guards from a camp holding Allied POWs. These Allied prisoners came by our holding compound and were poorly clothed and near starvation. They would have taken revenge on these guards, their tormentors, if they could get at our weapons. POW camps were resorts compared to concentration camps. These camps did exist.   

Awards: Pfc. Blocker was awarded the American Theater Ribbon, EAME Ribbon with two bronze stars, the Good Conduct Medal, WW II Victory Medal, and the Combat Infantry Badge.

 

After the War: Pfc. Dwayne Blocker was discharged on July 1, 1946. He had this to say about his experiences.

I received my GED after the Army. I took on-the-job training with SD Concrete Products Co., manufacturer of concrete culverts and bridge decks. I retired with 42 years service being plant superintendent for 40 years. I was married for 48 years; my wife is now deceased. My family includes 7 children, 19 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren. I spend my retirement with family, friends, and hobbies.

 

Advice from a WW II Veteran to Today's Youth:

Be proud to be an American. Be loyal to God, our country, and flag.

A U.S. Army sergeant checks the papers of new German prisoners lined up outside of the processing center of the Recklinghausen internment camp

A U.S. Army sergeant checks the papers of new German prisoners lined up outside of the processing center of the Recklinghausen internment camp; photo courtesy of the USHMM

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