F. Schmidt Bio - After graduation from Youngstown-Rayen in 1943, Bill
enlisted in the Army Specialized Training Reserve Program, attended Indiana University.
He began 1944 at infantry basic training at Ft. Benning and on completion (since
the ASTP program had been cut) was sent to to the Fort Bragg, 100th division.
Shipping out with the division in October, the unit went on line in the Seventh
Army sector with the 399th Rgt., Company E,as a PFC. rifleman.
After two months of advancing toward the Maginot
line, Bill was taken captive with his squad by the German counteroffensive "Operation
Northwind" January 1st., in a blockhouse near Bitche.
Bill was transported back to a labor camp south of Dresden
in four stages on box cars. Most notable was the 90 men in the car the first night
and the allied bombing daylight raid on the Hamburg rail-yards and third leg of the
He was in one of the 13 labor camps of IVA, near Bad
Shandau/Elbe doing pick and shovel work on the standard scanty rations. Toward the
end of April he collapsed at morning roll call and wound up in the camp hospital, (a
number of straw pallets on the floor of a small barracks).
As the Russians approached the Elbe river the camp
was evacuated and it was every man for himself. However Bill was taken by stretcher
to a house on the west bank by some fellow prisoners where he was liberated two days
At wars end Bill
was in U.S. Army hospitals from May to December. Honorable Discharge December 17, 1945.
Through the G.I. Bill, received College and Seminary Education and was ordained in 1952.
Served in six congregations during a ministry of 38 years. Became a Life Member of the
American Ex-Prisoners of War and a Charter Member of the Fairfield Barbed Wire Chapter in
Ohio in 1980. Bill has served as Chapter Commander of the Mid-South Chapter (TN) and also
Ohio Chapter No. One. He has attended eleven National Conventions since 1986 and is
serving his fifth year as a National Director.
Bills message to the future generations is; "The
image of freedom and future purpose under god will give one hope to stay alive in very
adverse conditions. "
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