Testimonies from the Midwest

 

Pfc. Verlyn Virgil Hofer, 62 AIB, 14th Armored Division

       Pfc. Verlyn Virgil Hofer          Division patch        Photo of Verlyn Virgil Hofer

Verlyn Virgil Hofer was born on June 6, 1925, at Davis, South Dakota. Of German and Norwegian heritage, Verlyn was raised in the Lutheran faith. He entered the service on June 22, 1944, after working as a student and printer in his hometown. The following is his story, told in his own words.

Service Record: I entered the service on June 22, 1944, at Ft. Snelling in Minnesota. I received 17 weeks of basic training at Camp Croft in South Carolina. After a short leave at home, I was shipped overseas as an infantry replacement. I landed in Naples, Italy on Christmas Eve of 1944. After three weeks in Italy I was shipped to France and joined Co. A, 62nd Arm. Inf., Bn., of the 14th Armored Division. I participated in Rhineland and Ardennes-Alsace campaigns before being wounded on March 22, 1945, at Steinfeld, Germany. I spent three months in the hospital in England for surgery and treatment. I returned home on a hospital ship in July and then spent the remainder of my service time in hospitals in Clinton, Iowa, and Battle Creek, Michigan.

Camp Encounter: After I was wounded and evacuated, the 14th Armored Division went on to liberate many POW camps, thus the division was named "The Liberators." I had little contact with POWs on either side but do recall that when I was in the field hospital, there was a German POW right next to me awaiting treatment and something to eat, being half-starved. It turns out he was not German but Polish--in the German army.

Awards: I was awarded the Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, and the Combat Infantry Badge.

 

After the War: Verlyn Hofer was discharged on November 7, 1945. He had this to say of his experiences.

After attending college for two years at SDSU and Augustana, I married Mary, my wife of 53 years, and went back into the newspaper and printing business. I published the Lennox Independent for 44 years and continued in the printing business for five more years before retiring in 1997. I have maintained contact with a number of wartime friends and have made many more friends through active participation in the 14th Armored Division Association. In 1995, when Verlyn toured Europe with others from the 14th Armored, they visited Moosburg, site of the POW camp. He recalls that the townspeople were very friendly and treated them to a fine meal.

 

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

Perhaps sometime in their lives students may be called upon to sacrifice for their country and liberty but this is the greatest place on earth to live and worth fighting for. We should always be mindful of those who gave all that we might enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Stalag VIIA, liberated by the 14th Armored Division

Stalag VIIA, liberated by the 14th Armored Division; photo courtesy of
http://www.b24.net/pow/stalag7.htm#photos

http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/8418/us14ad.htm