Hamilton County


Col. Virgil Womeldorff




Advance W. C. Serviceman To Rank of Full Colonel

A special dispatch to the Freeman-Journal from the headquarters of the Alaska defense command (exact location a military secret) brings news that Lt. Col. Virgil Womeldorff of this city, has been promoted to the rank of colonel.

The promotion was made by Lt. Gen. Simon Boliver Buckner, Jr., commanding the Alaska defense command.

Colonel Womeldorff is a son of Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Womeldorff of this city and his wife is the former Leorra Porter, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Porter of this city. The latter and her small son and daughter are staying here at the Porter home, probably for the duration.

Colonel Womeldorff is attached to the engineers, whose duties are about the toughest in the service for they repair roads, dig up mines, build bridges and otherwise make it possible for the army to advance. The colonel is given personal mention in Howard Handleman’s widely read book “Bridge to Victory.” This book is carried in an abridged version in the November issue of the “Readers Digest.”

“Bridge to Victory” is a press correspondent’s story of the combined attack of United States army and navy forces which drove the Japs from the Aleutian island of Attu. Says the “Reader’s Digest,” in introducing the story:

“Weather and terrain combined to make the Aleutians the toughest battlefield in American history. For months our forces under command of the navy but working as a team, patiently built up base after base in the nearer Aleutians, closing in on Kiska and Attu for the short range battle, clearing a skyway to Japan for the long range campaign.

“The showdown came in grim fighting on the barren, treeless section of Attu.”

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - Oct. 28, 1943

Virgil Leslie Womeldorff was born Aug. 27, 1904 to Adrian Ellsworth and Minnie Estelle Mitchell Womeldorff. He died Apr. 20, 1979, and is buried in the Ames Municipal Cemetery, Ames, IA.

Col. Womeldorff was awarded the Legion of Merit for his conduct as commandeer of a combat engineers regiment which helped crush a Japanese counter attack during the battle of Attu.

His Obituary: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - Apr. 23, 1979

Virgil L. Womeldorff, 74, of 524 S. Siegel St., Decatur, Ill., died at 5:30 a.m., Friday, April 20, in Bellevue, Neb. Funeral services were held Monday, April 23, at 10:30 a.m., in Webster City, at the Foster Funeral home. Burial was in Ames Municipal cemetery at Ames.

Mr. Womeldorff was born in Lohrville, Iowa, the son of Adrian E. and Minnie Mitchell Womeldorff.

Following graduation from Iowa State University in 1925, he was employed by Wisconsin Electric Power Company. He retired from Illinois Power Company as safety director, following 34 years of service.

Mr. Womeldorff’s biography appeared in Outstanding Americans, Bicentennial edition. He was a member of Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi, and Scabbard & Blade.

Mr. Womeldorff served in World War II and commanded the 50th Engineer Regiment in the Pacific Theatre. He was awarded the Legion of Merit. He continued in the U.S. Army Reserve and retired after 33 years of service with the rank of Colonel.

Mr. Womeldorff was a member of the Reserve Officers Association, the American Society of Safety Engineers, the Veterans of Safety, and the Commodore Toastmasters and had served in numerous positions on the U.S. Safety Council as well as the Civil Defense Command. He was a member of the Congregational church and the Decatur Club.

He and Leorra Porter were married in 1927. Surviving are his wife; son, Porter J. of Decatur; daughter, OrraLee Meyer of Bellevue, Neb.; six grandchildren; and one sister, Lela B. Paine of Redlands, Calif.

Memorials are to the American Heart Association.

Source: ancestry.com