Stockberger, Norman R. (705th)

Norman R. Stockberger 1Norman R. Stockberger

Biography: Norman Ray Stockberger was born on March 28, 1917, in Argos, Indiana. He was the son of James Warren Stockberger and Cora Dudgeon and attended schools in Tippecanoe through the 12th grade.

After graduation, he worked as a farm hand but his enlistment record indicates that he may have had some machine shop or related experience.

Service Time:  Norman entered the service on July 15, 1941, at Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN. At some point after basic training, he was assigned to the First Platoon, B Company, of the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion. In August of 1942, the unit was stationed at the Desert Training Center in California.

On December 26, 1942, while on leave from his unit, Norman married the former Evelyn Smith, who was born in the North Webster, IN, area and was the daughter of Ithel Smith and Mary O’Connel.

The 705th training continued at several other locations including Camp Hood, Texas, Camp Adair, Oregon and Fort Lewis, Washington, in mid-November, 1943, where they began preparations for overseas shipment. On April 6, 1944, they traveled to Camp Shanks, New York, and departed the New York port aboard the Queen Elizabeth on the 20th, landing in Gourock, Scotland, on the 27th. During the trip, the entire battalion was assigned to KP duty.

Norman R. Stockberger 2The 705th landed at Utah Beach, Normandy, France, on July 18, equipped with M18 tank destroyers, and first made contact with the enemy on August the 3rd, southeast of Miniac, France. They fought toward Brest during August and it was during this time, on August 12th, that Norman was hit by an enemy bullet. The details of the incident are unknown but after receiving medical attention, he was able to continue with the unit.

The 705th then helped clear the Crozon Peninsula in September, moving across France to the Moselle River in October and advancing to the German border at Kitzing by mid-November. Shifting north to the Aachen, Germany area in early December, they were soon participating in the famous defense of Bastogne, Belgium, with the 101st Airborne Division during the Ardennes offensive.

The unit was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for their actions at Bastogne and supported the drive to the Rhine River in March, 1945, crossing at Oppenheim on the 29th. Continuing the drive across Germany, they arrived in Neukirchen, Austria on May 6th. Norman was credited with all five of the unit’s campaigns; Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. He received the Purple Heart and EAME Theater Medals and left the service at Camp Atterbury, IN, on October 23, 1945. He had reached the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Honorable Discharge

Norman returned to the U.S. and he and Evelyn made their home in Warsaw, IN. The couple had two children, Janice and Ray and Norman worked in manufacturing for Korth Furniture Industries. In his spare time, Norman enjoyed raccoon hunting and was an avid Chicago Cubs fan. He gained the nickname “Ike” due to his fondness for General, and later President, Eisenhower. He was also elected as Town Marshall for Claypool, IN.

Norman R. Stockberger 3Norman passed away on September 11, 1989, and was buried in the Tippecanoe Cemetery in Tippecanoe, IN. I want to thank Norman’s grandson, Scott, for providing the photos and information for this tribute.

Not long before Norman passed, he gave Scott an English watch that he had taken from a German soldier. It was always believed that the German soldier had originally taken it from an English soldier. It is now a prized possession and keepsake of Scott’s.