Testimonies from the Midwest


James J. DeToy, Hg.  3rd Battalion, 222 Regiment,  42nd Infantry Division

James J. DeToy, Hg.  3rd Battalion           Division patch               Photo of James J. DeToy

James J. DeToy was born on March 26, 1922, at Jasper, Minnesota. Of Belgian ancestry and raised as a Catholic, James farmed before entering the service on January 23, 1942. The following is his story, told in his own words.

Service Record: I enlisted in the Army from Jasper, Minnesota, in January 1942. I was sent to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and from there to Camp Wallace, Texas, in the Coast Artillery. From there we went to Camp Stewart, Georgia, and then on to California in an anti-aircraft artillery battalion. I was transferred to a radar-search light battalion.

In 1944 I was moved to Camp Haan, California. I volunteered for infantry duty overseas. I was then sent to Camp Buttner, North Carolina, and then to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for assignment overseas. I left New York in January 1945 to Glasgow, Scotland, then on to Southhampton, England. I crossed the English Channel to LaHavre, France, and was assigned to Hg 3rd Battalion, 222nd Regiment, 42nd Rainbow Division.

I saw combat in the Hardt Mountains of Wingm, France; Wurtsburg, Furth, Swienfurth, and Munich, Germany. The 42nd Division, of which I was a part, took part in the liberation of the Dachau Concentration Camp. I served with an American Honorary Company in Vienna, Austria, after VE Day, until December 1945.

Camp Encounter: My squad was on other duty, so I was not in on the liberation. Other soldiers of the 42nd were there on duty. I remember the smell was something else. I could smell it from a mile away.

Awards: I received the Good Conduct Medal, American Theater, European Theater, Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star with Oakleaf Cluster, and two Battle Stars.


After the War: James DeToy was discharged at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, on January 4, 1946, He had this to say about his experiences: 

I then went to work with my father on the farm. I married on September 16, 1947, and then farmed in partnership with my father. I quit farming in 1962. Then I worked on a hobby farm for 25 years and also worked for school and city. I retired in 1985. Besides my wife, Lillian, I have two sons: Jim Jr. and Tony. I have lived around and in Brandon since 1962.

Prisoners' barracks in the Dachau concentration camp

Prisoners' barracks in the Dachau concentration camp; photo courtesy USHMM

Survivors and U.S. troops at the entrance to the Dachau concentration camp    

Survivors and U.S. troops at the entrance to the Dachau concentration camp; photo courtesy of USHMM