Salute to veterans: WWII POW 70 years later
On this veterans day, NewsChannel12 remembers and honors veterans with the story of a man who survived 15 months as a prisoner of war in Nazis Germany.
Hugh Aderholt is 88-years-old. 70 years ago he enlisted in the army and was deployed to Africa. His company moved from Africa to Italy.
Aderholt joined the 34th "Red Bull" division. From Naples, Italy, Aderholt's division fought the Germans to a town known as Cassino. Under the cover of artillery fire, Aderholt and 40 others sneaked into the German controlled town. They encountered tanks, and upon finding cover from the artillery in a bunker, was captured with 5 other Americans.
"When I got captured, my parents got two telegrams," Aderholt said. "Missing in action and it was a good while before they found out I was a POW."
For the next two days, the Germans kept their prisoners underground until shelling of the town ceased. Aderholt was moved out of the city. Germans moved their prisoners to Germany where they spent time on and off the move for 15 months.
"It was pretty tiring, walking all night on a slice of bread and thin soup," Aderholt said. "You get pretty weak walking all day on a slice of bread."
Aderholt didn't shower or stay in a bed during that time.
"We had several nights where a thousand of us slept in one big sheep barn," said Aderholt.
As Russians closed in on Germany, Aderholt and other prisoners were moved from Holland, to Belgium where they were met by the American, Allied front. The prisoners were liberated. Aderholt was headed home.
Three weeks after his liberation, the war was over.
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