Date of Interview
Lex Schoonover was born on 28 October 1923 in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. During the Depression years his family moved around, with stops in Bronxville, New York, and Washington, DC, before settling in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. Here Lex finished high school in 1941; he then attended Miami University of Ohio until being drafted into the Army in March 1943. Lex completed Basic Training at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, and then spent time in the Army Specialized Training Program (ATSP) at the University of Alabama. When this program was disbanded, Lex was sent to the 106th Infantry Division, and assigned to the 422rd Regiment, to an Intelligence and Reconnaissance (I and R) platoon. In October 1944 this unit shipped out to Europe; one month before the unit departed, Lex was married (wife Anne). Sent to the front line at the village of Schlausenbach, Germany, Lex's unit was overrun by the German offensive in mid-December 1944, and on 19 December 1944, with more than a thousand other Americans, he was captured by the Germans. Lex spent the next four months as a POW in Germany, at Camp IX-B in Bad Orb, Germany. Conditions steadily worsened, and hunger and disease claimed the lives of many. Lex was finally liberated when advancing US troops overran Camp IX-B on 2 April 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 November 1945 at several medical facilities. Again a civilian, Lex completed his college education (University of Michigan, 1947) and went to work for the retailer Sears Roebuck. He managed stores in Mansfield and Cleveland, Ohio, and the Twin Cities, Minnesota, before retiring in 1987. At the time of this interview (May 2003) Lex lived in Edina, Minnesota.
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Saylor, Thomas, "Oral History Project World War II Years, 1941-1946 - Lex Schoonover" (2003). Oral History Project: World War II Years, 1941-1946. 69.