Date of Interview
Edwin Luoma was born on 6 September 1919 in Eveleth, a mining town on Minnesota's Iron Range. One of five children of Finnish immigrant parents, he attended local schools, graduating from Eveleth High School in 1937 and Eveleth Junior College in 1939. He was employed as a bookkeeper in nearby Hibbing when he was drafted into the Army in November 1942. Edwin completed Basic Training at Camp Roberts, California, and then spent time in the Army Specialized Training Program (ATSP) in Cincinnati, Ohio. When this program was disbanded, Edwin was sent to the 106th Infantry Division, made a mail clerk, and assigned to Headquarters Company of the 422nd Regiment. In October 1944 this unit shipped out to Europe; several months before the unit departed, Edwin was married (wife Mildred). Sent in early December to the front line on the Belgian-German border, Edwin's unit was overrun by the German offensive that began on 16 December, and on 19 December, with more than a thousand other Americans, he was captured by the Germans. Edwin spent the next 106 days as a POW in Germany, at camps in Bad Orb and Ziegenhain, Germany. Conditions steadily worsened, and hunger and neglect claimed lives. Edwin was finally liberated when advancing US troops overran Ziegenheim on 30 March 1945. He was moved to a field evacuation hospital, then in early May 1945 shipped to the United States; he spent the time until his discharge in December 1945 at several stateside medical facilities. Again a civilian, Edwin returned to the Iron Range, was reunited with his wife Mildred, and helped to raise a family of four daughters; he worked many years for the Duluth Missabe and Iron Range Railway, in Duluth, retiring in 1983. In retirement Edwin and Mildred (d. 1996) moved to a lakefront home outside Eveleth, where this interview took place in June 2003.
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Saylor, Thomas, "Oral History Project World War II Years, 1941-1946 - Edwin Luoma" (2003). Oral History Project: World War II Years, 1941-1946. 43.