Rockford World War II POW

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

U.S. officials report that at least seven American troops have been captured and nearly 20 are missing. Prisoners of War are a harsh reality of any war.

A Stateline World War II POW sat down with 23 News reporter Erica Hurtt to talk about his experiences in a German prison camp and how they differ from what troops are experiencing in Iraq.

Nowadays, Rockford Native Maynard Adolphson can talk openly about the nearly four months he spent in a Germany prisoner camp from December 1944 to March 1945.

"We didn't know what was going to happen. As we started walking back to Germany they didn't feed us then either and we had to sleep in the snow," said Adolphson, WWII POW and Rockford Resident.

As a Staff Sergeant with the Army's 106th division, Adolphson and his squad were forced to surrender to German forces on December 19, 1944 in the Battle of the Bulge when ammo, food and supplies dried up

"We didn't like that. We wanted to continue. But we had nothing to continue with," Adolphson said.

Adolphson survived on coffee and a bowl of soup a day. He lost more than 50 pounds from his six foot frame.

"If you did what they told you to do there was no problem," Adolphson said. "It was just that we didn't get fed. And we didn't get a chance to bathe and the living conditions were terrible."

But Adolphson says Iraqi prisoners of war have it much worse.

"That's what bothers me, the taking of prisoners, because I know they will be treated worse that we were," Adolphson said.

With a family and fiancé back in the state's Adolphson past the time as a prisoner by playing cards and keeping a list of the foods he dreamed of eating. The Rockford veteran lived on hope and was eventually freed on March 30, 1945.

"You just got to keep hope, keep thinking it will all be over," said Adolphson.

After his release Adolphson spent two days in the hospital. He eventually finished his tour of duty back in the states.

The Rockford veteran says one other big difference between World War II and the Iraqi war is the speed of information. His family didn't even know he was missing until a month after he was taken prisoner.


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