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World War II's unsung heroes

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historical Alexandria, 56308
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

Usually when World War II veterans are honored and stories are written about them, the focus is on those involved in the actual battles that were fought. People tend to forget the soldiers who toiled behind the scenes.

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The support troops were just as important. Infantry Battery Supply Staff Sergeant Marvin Dobberpuhl was one of those soliders.

Dobberpuhl was drafted in 1942 and sent to Texas in July to complete basic training A successful soldier, he rose rather quickly through the ranks while carrying out his duties in Missouri and California.

He was shipped out from Pennsylvania in November 1944 and arrived in France six weeks after the Battle of Normandy had ended.

From there he went on to Menz, France, and then, along with his company, crossed the "impenetrable" Siegfried Line.

His unit missed the Battle of the Bulge by only three days; nevertheless, Marvin played a crucial part in the ongoing success of military operations.

In his role as a truck driver, he was always there with the needed supplies for his troops. In a recent interview, he said, "I hauled artillery, artillery, artillery!"

First Lieutenant Ruth (Sella) McDonald was a member of an advanced medical team assigned duty at Santo Tomas University, Manila.

Her team provided medical care for 3,700 civilian and military personnel suffering from malnutrition and other maladies resulting from being held prisoners of war.

She carried out her duties under constant small arms fire that caused additional casualties. She was awarded the Bronze Star Medal in 1945 in recognition of her self-denial, devotion to duty and the courage she exhibited that went beyond the line of duty.

Today, she can't help but notice that recognition of WW II veterans is seldom extended to women who served with bravery along with their male counterparts.

A poem that she wrote while in service sums up her feelings.

The Plight of an Army Nurse

It is hell to be an army nurse and travel up and down,

With nursette bag and gas mask like an idiot clown.

To try to live a man's life when our place is really home,

Who will thank us cause we did it?

You can write that on your stone!

So turn home again dear army nurse; not home again for you!

Your heart is turning home again, but just forget that, too!

You signed for the duration and gave up your happy home.

Now God alone will love you, so you roam, you sucker, roam!

• • •

The Douglas County Historical Society is sponsoring a Hanger Dance to be held at Chandler Field (Alexandria Airport) in Alexandria on Saturday, June 13, from 7 to 11 p.m.

The event will have a World War theme and will honor many of the brave men and women who willingly gave up their safety and their careers to serve our country.

Doc's All Stars will perform Big Band music. The Runestone Rockettes will also perform. Food and beverages will be available, and raffle drawings will be held.

A grand march will also be held for all attendees dressed in period costume.

Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Bremer Bank downtown, Elden's Food Fair, Pete's County Market, the Runestone Museum, Trumm Drug, or the Douglas County Historical Society.

Call (320) 762-0382 for more information.

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