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Schlegel, Lee C. (1919-2004) | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Schlegel, Lee C. (1919-2004)
Fuller Form: Lee Cyrus Schlegel

Historical Note:

Lee Cyrus Schlegel was born on May 26, 1919 in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania to parents, Theodore Machmer and Anna Bertha (née Luckenbill) Schlegel. Following high school, Schlegel was employed as a structural and ornamental metal worker. He married Dorothy E. Moyer on September 10, 1941, and less than two weeks later, enlisted in the United States Army at New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

Schlegel underwent his initial military training at Camp Croft, South Carolina. In February 1942, he was assigned to Company D, 34th Infantry Division and traveled to Fort Dix, New Jersey in preparation for overseas movement. By the end of April, Schlegel’s regiment had set sail for the UK where the division would ready themselves for the British-American invasion of North Africa known as Operation Torch, which began in November 1942. Schlegel took part in a number of North African campaigns, including the Battle of Hill 609, that ultimately led to surrender by Axis forces in Tunisia in May 1943. The following September, the 34th Infantry Division boarded an English ship bound for Italy to take part in the Allied invasion of the Italian mainland, known as Operation Avalanche.

Schlegel would distinguish himself as an exemplary soldier during this campaign, later receiving the Silver Star for gallantry in action. As described, "in the face of this heavy fire and while under full enemy observation, [Schlegel] crawled up a slippery and treacherous rise to the aid of three wounded men, administered first-aid and stayed with them until the barrage ceased. He then made two trips with the litter squads, aiding the evacuation of the men, before returning to resume command of his squad. Sergeant Schlegel's display of courage and initiative was an inspiration to the men of his platoon and a credit to the Armed Forces of the United States."

In January 1944, while moving into position at Mt. Trocchio, Italy, Schlegel suffered a leg injury and was hospitalized at Naples for three months. When he returned to service in June, the 34th Division had moved through Cisterna, Civitavecchia, and on to Rome pushing Axis forces north. Schlegel received a furlough notice on July 22, and finally made it stateside on September 3, 1944.

Lee Cyrus Schlegel passed away on November 16, 2004 at Shillington, Berks County, Pennsylvania and is buried at Forest Hills Memorial Park, Reiffton, Exeter Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania.

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