Portrait of a Hero - William C Hoch
His name was Sgt. William C. Hoch and his tour of duty was eighty years ago in January of 1942. He received the bronze star & handshake from a Colonel for his heroism and leadership. In 1945 when he was with the fighting 42nd Rainbow Division in World War II, Hoch wearing his new Eisenhower jacket was assigned to guns and jeep division. It was mechanized warfare. He was a part of the 6th & 7th Squad and Equipment with an 81m.m. gun mortar. This is not the gun they brought over with them. They lost the first gun in the first day of battle. “Jan. 5th 1945. God!! What a day!!!.” Hoch noted.
One of the captions below a picture in his scrapbook with a fellow soldier Sgt. Green digging a trench was “Dig Green Dig! It’s up to you whether it’s going to be permanent or temporary.”
As they advanced up through Germany, HOCH’s “Holdings as he would call his squad would stop to break on the side of the road. Sometimes they would take a town to liberate and stay several days before moving on. Their job was to end the war and free the people. Hoch and his squadron of soldiers survived the devastating sniper attacks and constant gun fire whizzing overhead as they approached the Dachaii Concentration Camp in April of 1945. Hoch said in a caption under a picture of 39 stock cars filled with dead bodies, “This place is better to never have seen but it was here that we all realized why we were fighting.” A room full of political prisoners. “God the stench was horrible, and the photo could never show the true horror.” It was that day they liberated the Dachaii Concentration Camp and released the survivors.
That same month the squadron moved in on Hitlers’ Trophy Room in Nurberg, capturing two German Soldiers and a tank. During the combat they also ceased a secondhand Nazi flag and an arm band after V-E Day when they were searching homes in order to curb the underground activity. Hermann Goerings own Luftwaffe Corp band was found.
It was the beginning of the end of Nazi occupation in Europe. “We should never forget what happened here. We should only remember it should never happen again.” Hoch wrote in a letter to his parents. Their squadron had no casualties of war during the rainbow walk through Germany in 1945. A remarkable accomplishment. Thank you to all who served and sacrificed. Content provided by the HOCH family.