World War II Bronze Star POW Medal Group
"August C. Erdbrink"
United States Army Private August C. Erdbrink (service #33067286) was born Oct. 9th 1916 in Baltimore, Maryland. He worked as a store clerked before his military service.
August enlisted in the Army as a Private in Baltimore for 3 years of Service on Oct. 1st 1941. Pvt. Erdbrink was sent to North Africa with the first American invasion troops with the 1st Special Service Force, an elite American/Canadian Commando Unit under Command of the 5th Army.
Pvt. Erdbrink was captured by Nazi Germany while serving in Italy, and was sent to Servigliano Camp 59 near Ascoli Picenzo, Italy where 253 other American POW’s were held. Pvt. August's capture was first reported to the International Committee of the Red Cross on June 28, 1943.
The Italian Armistice was signed Sept. 8th 1943. When American POW’s heard this news, they planned an escape, by Sept 14th The Germans were close to the camp 59. The Italian prison Commander was a true Fascist and posted guards around the prison to stop an escape. When the POW’s rushed the front gates the guard’s opened fire on them. The British Commander of the Allie POW’s persuaded the Italian Commander to order the guards to open the front gates and allow the POW’s to escape before the Germans arrived. It is said everyone escaped from camp 59, many made it to the Allies and many were recaptured by the German’s including Pvt. Erdbrink. Pvt. Erdbrink is recorded in Armie Hill’s prison camp notebook as being one of 36 men living in Hut 4–Section 11 of Camp 59. Pvt. Erdbrink remained a POW until the war with German was over and he was liberated.
Pvt. Erdbrink was awarded this Bronze Star Medal with 2nd award Oak Leaf Cluster for his combat operations in World War II. He was awarded his POW medal when it was authorized by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s.
United States Army Private August C. Erdbrink passed away Nov. 1st 2006, he is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington County, Virginia.