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Jack Herman Interview Transcription

Jack Herman, Sergeant

In addition to being a part of the forces that defeated Germany's last major offensive—known as of "Operation Nordwind"—in France's Vosges Mountains, Jack Herman also served as a messenger, a translator for German POW's and civilians, and a rifleman, as a part the 70th Infantry Division—rising to the rank of sergeant after the end of the war.

Jack Herman grew up in Gary, Indiana. During the early days of World War II, he attended high school and was able to get a job in the local steel mills due to the boom in wartime production. When he turned 17, Herman decided to join the service and signed up to train as a Navy pilot. When this program was cancelled, he joined the Army Specialized Training Program and began taking college courses, training to be an Army Engineer. Shortly after turning 18, despite his young age and slight stature, Herman was called up to be an infantryman.

After being transferred to the 70th Infantry Division and completing basic training, Herman was shipped through southern France to the Vosges Mountains as part of "Task Force Herren", which included the advanced units of the 70th Infantry Division. Shortly after arriving, Herman's C Company—the 276th Infantry—was caught in the path of the last major German offensive of the western front: Operation Nordwind. After taking heavy casualties and fighting in the bitter winter of 1944, Herman's unit went on the offensive and entered Germany, taking small towns throughout the country until the end of the war.

During his time in the 70th Infantry Division, Herman served as a messenger, a translator for German POW's and civilians, and a rifleman. He rose to the rank of sergeant by the end of the war. He stayed in Germany on occupation duty until 1946 when he was finally able to return home.