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Roger E. Acker

U.S. Army
WWII
Battle of the Bulge

Roger Acker enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 1, 1944 and was assigned to the 16th Infantry Regiment of the first Infantry division. His Infantry was known for being among the first outfits sent into battle.

The day after Christmas 1944, Acker became a replacement soldier on the front lines in the Battle of the Bulge. This was ten days before three German armies plunged into the semi- mountainous Ardennes Forest on the Germany/Belgium border. Manning an automatic rifle and firing bazookas at enemy tanks, Acker remained in the battle even after taking shrapnel in one of his legs. He was promoted to sergeant squad leader and continued to lead his men through a succession of battles for control of various cities and towns. In March, he and his squad were captured by the Germans.

Acker was one of 14 POWs (prisoners of war) on a forced march from Remagen to a concentration camp in Kassel, a distance of about 300 miles. After about two weeks on the march, he said, the group, including a German column with horse-drawn ammunition carts, was strafed by American planes. Everybody was forced to run for cover. What better time, Acker figured, to attempt an escape? For the next several days, he traveled through the woods by night and slept during the day. He made his way to the town of Jesberg, which had been captured by U.S. forces shortly before his arrival. When the mayor, who was a woman, offered the ravenously hungry soldier food, he was suspicious but took her up on the offer.

The Ohio native met his future wife Frances Marie Sciacca at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island while awaiting his discharge from the army. Frances was the manager at the post exchange. In 1947 they married – two years after his escape.

Acker was a recipient of The Bronze Star, two Battle Stars for the Battle of the Bulge, Purple Heart for honorable service and a Distinguished Unit Citation and Good Conduct Medal. He also received a medal from the French Republic.

After returning home Roger became division manager of customer and commercial services for Con Edison, West Brighton, for 40 years, retiring in 1986. He was an active community leader. He and his wife served on many boards. He was highly regarded for his work fundraising and as a trustee and member of the board for Richmond Memorial Hospital.

Roger has two daughters, Sherri Corona and Linda Thoresen, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, and enjoys playing golf both here and in Florida.

Sponsored by Willie Abell