Dissinger, Lester M. (608th, 607th)

Lester M. Dissinger 1Lester M. Dissinger

Biography: Lester Mellinger Dissinger, “Prince”, was born on July 24, 1910, in Akron, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Wilson Dissinger and Emma Cora Mellinger. He had two sisters, Irma and Lena. His enlistment record indicates Lester completed one year of high school. In October, 1940, he was employed at the Miller-Hess Shoe Company in Akron.

Service Time: Lester entered the Army on March 17, 1942 at New Cumberland, PA. He was eventually assigned to the Pioneer (later Reconnaissance) Company of the 608th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The unit was formed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in December 1941, and trained there until moving to Camp Atterbury, Indiana, on June 9, 1943. Training continued but on December 20, 1943, the 608th was deactivated and the personnel transferred to other tank destroyer units. Staff Sergeant Dissinger was transferred to the 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion and assigned to Company C on December 27th.

Lester M. Dissinger 4Arriving at Liverpool, England, on April 21, 1944, they continued training. Company C landed at Utah Beach, Normandy, France on June 23rd and supported the advance on Cherbourg, fighting along the Seves River in July. They joined the drive to Le Mans and envelopment of the Falaise Pocket in August, advancing to the Moselle River in September and supporting operations against Metz through November. The unit converted to a self-propelled battalion equipped with M36 tank destroyers in time for the final assault on Metz.

Continuing the drive toward the Saar River, they participated in the attack on Saarlautern, Germany, followed by the subsequent fight against the Siegfried Line in December. On December 16th, Staff Sergeant Dissinger was transferred to Reconnaissance Company and became part of the company mechanic crew. The unit was deployed to the Ardennes sector in January, 1945 and again committed against the Siegfried Line in February in the Schnee Eifel. Supporting the capture of Koblenz, Germany in mid-March, they crossed the Rhine River at Boppard on March 25.

Lester M. Dissinger 2

The photo at left shows Lester, far left, with some of the other mechanics.

The unit continued to drive east through Hessen and Thüringen during April and reached the Czechoslovak border near Plauen by mid-April. Thereafter, they remained in defensive positions until VE Day. He earned the Good Conduct, WWII Victory, Occupation of Germany and the EAME medals with credit for the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. He earned the Good Conduct, WWII Victory, Army of Occupation-Germany and the EAME medals with credit for the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. Lester left the service at the rank of Staff Sergeant on November 28, 1945, at the Indiantown Gap Military Reservation.

After his return home, Lester went back to his job at Miller-Hess, working as a machinist. At some point, he married the former Kathryn Snader who was the daughter of John Wolf Snader and Mary McCloud Wenger. Lester had worked 40 years for Miller-Hess when he retired. He was a life member of the Lebanon County Beagle Club and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts in Ephrata, the Akron Fire Company and the Crossforks Hunting Club.

Lester M. Dissinger 3Lester passed away on December 11, 1995 and was buried in the Mount Zion United Methodist Cemetery in Akron, PA. We would like to thank Find A Grave member Suzette for use of the grave marker photo.