Albert F. Ahrenholz
Biography: Albert Francis Ahrenholz was born on February 8, 1920, in Middletown, New York. He was the son of Augustus M. Ahrenholz and Anna Flannery Ahrenholz.
Service Time: In 1940, he entered active military service with the New York National Guard and served his country in many parts of the world for the next 32 years. In 1942, Albert married the former Roma Louise Geist who had been born on Staten Island and was the daughter of Anthony R. Geist and Elsie Zill of the Middletown, NY area. The new couple would have three sons and a daughter, Robert, Judith, Thomas and John.
He was also commissioned from the Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1942, and joined Company B of the 609th Tank Destroyer Battalion, which fought with the U.S. 10th Armored Division under General George Patton's 3rd Army across France and Germany.
He participated in actions during the 'Battle of the Bulge' (Bastogne), at Trier and Crailsheim, Germany, and during the capture of the German rocket facility at Kochel, which later became the basis of future rocket development in the U.S.
The photo above left shows Albert with brother Claude during the Carolina maneuvers in 1941, The right photo shows Albert while stationed in Japan during the early 1950's.
The photo on left shows Albert at his retirement ceremony, which was held on July 30, 1974, at Fort Gordon in Augusta, GA.
Following WWII, Albert held many positions in the Army; as tank unit commander with the 7th Infantry in Korea; as an advisor to the Japanese defense forces; a National Guard advisor in Billings, Montana; as a commander of the 35th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas, and while in Germany as a Division G-3 with the 4th Armored Division; a Brigade Commander in the 2nd Infantry Division, Korea; Chief of Staff of the 4th Armored and 1st Armored Divisions, Germany; with the Army and Joint Chief's of Staff at the Pentagon; and as a Deputy Commander of Fort Gordon, Georgia.
Col. Ahrenholz's schooling included the U.S. Army Armor School; Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas; Armed Forces Staff College; US Army Signal School; National War College, Class of 1966; Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh and a B.A. degree from the University of Maryland. His awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters; the Bronze Star medal; Joint Services Commendation medal, the Purple Heart; and the European Theater of Operations Ribbon with four campaign stars. He left the service at the rank of Colonel.
The photo on left shows Albert and son, John, in Augusta, GA in 2001.
After retiring, he and his wife moved to Beaufort, South Carolina, and he was a charter member of the Royal Pines Country Club. He was director of the United Way of Beaufort County from 1979 to 1982. As a member of St. Peter's Catholic Church on Lady's Island, he served as the fund raiser for the new church. He was a life member and past president of the Beaufort chapter of the Retired Officer's Association and a Member of Georgia Military Officers Association, Augusta Chapter.
Albert passed away on Thursday, February 26, 2004, at the age of 84. He was laid to rest in the Beaufort National Cemetery in Beaufort, South Carolina.
I want to thank Albert's son, John, for photos of his father as well as materials on the 609th. I also want to thank Cheryl Behrend, for providing the grave marker photo.