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Hahn, Fredrick P. (823rd)

Fredrick P. Hahn

Biography:  Fredrick Philip Hahn was born on April 2, 1920, in Johnson County, Iowa. He was one of three sons and five daughters born to Charles Hahn and Anna E. Kling and attended local schools in Johnson County for 8 years. The 1940 U.S. Census shows he was working as a farm laborer.

Service Time:  Fredrick entered the Army on June 14, 1942, at Fort Des Moines, IA. He was eventually assigned to Company B of the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. The 823rd trained at a number of military bases including Camps Bowie and Hood, Texas, and Camp Clairborne, Louisiana, where they were located prior to participating in the Louisiana maneuvers.

The unit boarded trains on March 9, 1944. enroute to Camp Myles Standish, and the Boston port, where they arrived on the 12th to begin their final preparations for the trip overseas. On April 6th, they loaded on the U.S.S. Sea Porpoise and sailed for England, arriving in Newport, Wales, on the 17th after an uneventful trip. After some additional training and a delay, they boarded three LSTs and landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, on June 24, 1944. They were equipped with 3″ towed guns and went into action within 24 hours of their arrival. Supporting the drive on St. Lô, they fought at Mortain in August.

Passing through Belgium and Holland, they entered Germany on September 17th. Fighting along the Siegfried Line in October, which included the encirclement of Aachen, the 823rd converted to M10 tank destroyers beginning in November, and shifted to the Ardennes in late December. Fighting to eliminate the Bulge in January, 1945, they crossed the Roer River on February 24th. Crossing the Rhine River on March 24th, the unit raced eastward to the Elbe River, at Magdeburg, in April and finally began military occupation duties on April 21st. Fredrick was awarded a Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action on April 18, 1945. His citation reads as follows:

“Technician Hahn and his comrades, noticing a knocked out destroyer blazing, savagely fought off enemy attacks and fire in order to remove three crew members and bring them to safety. While doing so, they also knocked out several enemy positions and a machine gun nest. Technician Hahn’s gallant actions in aiding his comrades help save their lives and were a source of inspiration to all who observed him.”

He was also awarded the EAME medal with credit for the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe, along with the Good Conduct, American Service and WWII Victory medals and was eligible to wear the Distinguished Unit Ribbon awarded to Company B and the Belgian Fourragere. He returned to the U.S. on October 13, 1945, was discharged November 3rd at the rank of Technician Grade 4.

Fredrick returned to Iowa and the 1950 U.S. Census lists him as living in Graham Township and working as a farm hand. On April 2, 1956, he married the former Alice G. Ferguson in Iowa City, IA. She was born in Akron, Colorado, and was the daughter of Andrew M. Kroger and Mary A. Wilke. They settled on a farm near Solon, IA, and had three children, Linda, Lois and Oscar. Fredrick was a member of the Solon American Legion and was a past president of the Morse Cemetery Association. He passed away on April 14, 1996, and was buried in the Memory Gardens Cemetery in Iowa City. Thank you to Find a Grave contributor Sue, for use of the grave marker photo.