World War II

The World War II exhibits of Red Oak’s Depot Museum, draws from the Ernie Pyle style of World War II reporting.  Ernie Pyle, this country’s most beloved WWII correspondent, viewed his purpose was to describe what was happening from the standpoint of the individual.


Pyle didn’t focus on battles, strategies or numbers, nor did he spend time seeking to talk with Generals.  Instead, Pyle focused on human interest stories about the daily lives and experiences of soldiers – survival on the front, living in foxholes, slogging through mud and snow, eating whatever was available, learning to sleep standing up, and trying to live one more day.


At the Red Oak World War II Museum, you’ll find stories of individuals; soldiers from Montgomery County who tell of their boredom and fears, triumphs and grief, doing so in letters, journals and memoirs.  Come here not for the big picture (although that can be found as well) but rather for a sense of what life was for those who were there.

The Kasserine Pass Battle

Company M was ordered into federal service February 1941 and participated in campaigns in the European-African-Mediterranean Theater, including Algeria, French Morocco, Tunisia, Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, North Apennines and the Po Valley.

The Kasserine Pass Battle put Company’s M and F in the eye of the conflict led by German General Rommel.  Company F found themselves surrounded behind enemy lines; under the command of Major Robert Moore, about half managed to get through to American lines.  During the conflict, in one day Red Oak received 27 telegrams informing families of loved one either “killed in action” or “missing in action”.  Many MIA became German prisoners of war.

The Homecoming
"The Homecoming” In this Pulitzer Prize winning photo captured by Earle "Buddy" Bunker of the Omaha World-Herald, Lt. Col. Robert R. Moore greets his wife and daughter Nancy at the train depot in Villisca, IA. Waiting his turn is nephew, Junior Croxdale.
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