Date of Interview
Jack Ringgenberg was born 21 March 1924 in Rochester, Minnesota, one of three boys. He grew up there, and graduated from high school in 1942. He was inducted into the US Army in March 1943, completed Basic Training at Camp Robinson, Arkansas, and then volunteered for paratrooper school at Fort Benning, Georgia. Upon completion of paratrooper training, Jack was assigned to the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 82nd Airborne. Jack was in action with the 504th PIR at the battles for Sicily and Salerno, both in 1943. This unit also supported the Allied Anzio campaign in January 1944, part of the invasion on 22 January; Jack was there. Four days later, though, after a deadly firefight with German troops (twelve of eighteen Americans killed), Jack was taken prisoner. As a POW, Jack spent time at several prison camps (German = Stalag) after an initial interrogation in Florence, Italy: II-B Hammerstein, IV-B Muhlberg, Luft VI Heydekrug, XIII-D Nuremberg, and finally VII-A Moosburg. This overcrowded camp, located in southern Germany, was liberated by advancing US forces on 29 April 1945. Jack was among the thousands of Americans evacuated from Moosburg; he went first to France, then to the United States. He was discharged from service in November 1945. Again a civilian, Jack was married in 1947, and helped to raise four children. He used GI Bill benefits and graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1951. Jack stayed for the most part in the Mankato area, working many years for Red Owl Foods, a grocery retailer, and also owning a store in Forest Lake, Minnesota. He has been active in the American Ex-POWs organization.
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Saylor, Thomas, "Oral History Project World War II Years, 1941-1946 - Jack Ringgenberg" (2004). Oral History Project: World War II Years, 1941-1946. 62.