Hardwick recognizes last World War II veteran
The last of Hardwick’s World War II veterans received a special visit last week and a personal thank you for his 59 years of continuous membership to the Arthur Moeller American Legion Post 478.
Bill Holling, at age 92 years and 8 months, has outlived his fellow soldiers, an accomplishment the former farmer downplays.
“It wasn’t necessary,” he said.
A man of few words, Holling briefly talked about his two-year stint in the U.S. Army.
Drafted in 1944 at the age of 21, the Hardwick native left the family farm for basic training and was assigned to work in the motor pool. His unit spent six months in Europe after basic training.
“I did quite a bit of driving on the Autobahn,” Holling said. “They were very smooth.”
He would also fix the generally reliable vehicles.
“The GMCs didn’t have too many problems but they were slow,” Holling said.
His infantry unit did not encounter any fighting while in Europe and returned to the U.S. in 1945. The group was preparing for deployment to Asia when the war ended.
“We were going to invade Japan,” Holling recalled. “Luckily, we didn’t go.”
He spent time at Army bases in Minnesota, Texas, California and Illinois before his discharge in 1946.
He returned to the family farm southeast of Hardwick and spent decades in agriculture before he and his wife of 52 years, Lois, retired to Luverne in 1992. The couple has two daughters and six grandchildren.
Holling joined the Hardwick legion in 1956.