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The fourth of five boys, all of whom served in the Army during WWII, eighteen year old Leonard Winklebauer was drafted in June 1943. He went to Camp Howes, Texas, for basic training and then to Louisiana for maneuvers. He was assigned to a labor platoon with the 537th Army Engineers Battalion. He describes living in tents in the field and building pontoon bridges. He was sent to Camp Guru, Oklahoma, for staging and then to England aboard the converted Queen Elizabeth. He landed in Scotland on D-Day, was stationed in England for six weeks, and then shipped to France. His 220 man unit of the 537th Engineers was part of General Patton's 3rd Army. They were non-combat, intended for bridge construction in support of advancing American troops. Winklebauer, who was subsequently assigned to handle supplies within the headquarters platoon, described it as a very close-knit group that kept in touch after the war through reunions every couple of years (their 60th anniversary and last reunion was in 2002). The battalion was in Luxemburg in December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge, and in Germany thereafter until the war in Europe ended in May 1945. Winklebauer described his experiences with German civilians and with German prisoners-of-war in southern France where the battalion was stationed while waiting return to the States. Winklebauer received four battle stars for his military service in Europe. He was returned to the States in December 1945 and discharged from the Army in January 1946. All five brothers survived the war and returned home safely to Kansas. He was interviewed by Suzette McCord-Rogers on Jan 1, 2007. He was born October 29, 1924, in Horton, Kansas. He graduated from Horton High School in 1942. The 2005 Kansas Legislature passed a bill funding the WWII Veterans Oral History grant program. This transcript is from one of the nine community institutions that received these grants. The transcript from the interview is presented here; the original video copy of the interview is available through the Doniphan County Historical Society (Troy) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Creator: Winklebauer, Leonard
Date: 1 January 2007

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Item Number: 212231
Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project
KSHS Identifier: DaRT ID: 212231

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