A few weeks after arriving at Camp Phillips, Kansas, the unit was directed to Devils Lake, North Dakota, to assist with the record wheat crop of 1943. The men traveled over 700 miles to reach their destination. There was a critical shortage of civilian labor and the men were needed to harvest wheat. The men were broken into small groups and spread over cities including Cando, Roullette, New Rockford, Rugby and other cities in the wheat belt. The Battalion Headquarters was established in the War Memorial Building in Devils Lake. The men produced enough wheat to supply every man, woman and child in the United States with one loaf of bread. After the harvert was completed, the men traveled back to Camp Phillips. The accomplishments of the unit were related in the local newspapers.
A photo from the actual wheat harvest in late summer of 1943.
Another photo from the actual wheat harvest in late summer of 1943.
A third photo from the actual wheat harvest in late summer of 1943.
A program identifying that on September 19, 1943, a special service was held at the Municipal Auditorium in Devils Lake, North Dakota, to say a final farewell to the troops and recognize the accomplishments of the 825th TD Battalion. Chaplain Harry W. Webster is listed as the Chairman for the service.
Shown is Sgt. Vester Lowe, Sgt. John G. Armstrong, Sgt. Martin Hauser and Sgt. Jonas Whaley. Each of these men were leaders in their respective squads of A Company and were involved in actions against German forces near the river bridge at Stavelot, Belgium on December 18, 1944. Of the group, all would escape except Armstrong who was killed and received the Silver Star and Purple Heart. Photo courtesy of Serge Lemaire.
A photo from the unit's reunion in 2000, which is believed to be the last one that Frances Doherty (wife of Company A, 1st Platoon Commander, 1st Lt. Jack Doherty) attended. She is pictured front left with Annie Mae Christian (wife of HQ Company's Pfc. Hewell L. Christian) on right. In the background on far left is William M. "Bill" Lady Jr., talking to Col. Clayton Weist and them on far right is Jack Owen talking to Bill Lady's son. Photo courtesy of Mary Hodson.
A photo of Cpl. Maurice A. Hunt, seated center back, with a few other military friends at the Bismarck Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. Hunt entered the service on August 25, 1942, at Portland, Maine, which was also his home. Hunt received medical training and served with the 825th Tank Destroyer as part of their Medical Detachment.
A photo of Lou Celentano helping with the wheat harvest while the 825th was in North Dakota. Photo courtesy of Mary Hodson.
A photo of Sgt. Martin Hauser and Sgt. John Scibelli while they were stationed at Fort Mieding, after the war. Fort Mieding was named after the unit's commanding officer, Lt. Col. Rudolph H. Mieding and was located at Wiesbaden-Schierstein, Germany, which was within eyesight of the Rhine River. The facilities were formally a training school for Nazi SS troops and provided modern military quarters and recreation, for the men. Both Hauser and Scibelli served in A Company and both had been wounded and received Purple Hearts. Scibelli was wounded a second time and received the Oak Leaf Cluster signifying his second Purple Heart. Hauser was also awarded the Bronze Star. Photo courtesy of Lou Celentano and Mary Hodson.
825th veteran, Barry Moore Gillespie (center) poses with Mary Hodson Fraser and her husband Tom in 2016. Mary is the daughter of John L. Fraser, who was a close friend of her father.
The photo shows John L. Fraser on right, with Barry M. Gillespie. It was taken, after the war, in June of 1945, at Fort Mieding in Wiesbaden, Germany. The facility was a former SS training school, which was renamed after the unit's commander, Lt. Col. Rudolph H. Mieding. The 825th was stationed there, awaiting orders. Photo courtesy of Mary Fraser Hodson.
This photo from 2019, shows Florence Hoffmans Huygen on left with her daughter Margo. John L. Fraser was billeted in Florence's home during the war. She was only 6 at the time. The family lived at No. 201, Tongeren, Belgium. Serge Lemaire, who lives in Belgium, was able to locate Florence and she was able to share some stories of the mens time in her home. Photo courtesy of Mary Fraser Hodson.
This photo from January 1945, shows the Hoffmans family, who billeted American soldiers during WWII. Soldiers present are John L. Fraser, Anderson, Rufus B. English, Lester H. Galeazzi and Frank Glowacz. The family lived at No. 201, Tongeren, Belgium. Photo courtesy of Mary Fraser Hodson.
The Hoffmans family billeted American soldiers in late 1944-45, in their home in Belgium. John L. Fraser was one of those soldiers, Florence Hoffmans was only 6 at the time. Photo courtesy of Mary Fraser Hodson.
Vester O. Lowe poses with a memorial stone, documenting each of the unit's involved with the liberation and defense of Malmedy, Belgium. Vester was able to come back and visit the area a number of years ago. Photo courtesy of Serge Lemaire.