James R. Hendrickson

Lt. James Hendrickson Rides a Tank Across Siegfried Line
"The Norsemen of the North" found themselves riding tanks with the American forces in Germany, according to Alton Smalley, war correspondent for the St. Paul Dispatch

As an example, he uses Lieutenant James R. Hendrickson, Eau Claire, whose sister, Mrs. Maurice Hagman, resides at 813 Cameron Street.

With other soldiers of the regiment, largely of Norwegian descent, Hendrickson received ski training and was stationed at Fort Snelling in l942. 

Lieutenant Hendrickson competed in the 1936 Olympics held at Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany.

When the Yank invasion of the contingent began, the ski troops were added to the combat units, but as tank men.

Correspondent Smalley said he met them in "The Bulge" of the Siegfried Line, a sector approximately eight miles long and 12 deep in Germany, where the American Army has made a major breakthrough of the fortified line.

The job of these men is to ride on tanks through open country and leap from them to clean up enemy soldiers. When the tanks enter towns, the Infantry squads go ahead of the tanks. 

They have many problems, however. Sitting on a turret, they must hang on tightly, when the turret revolves. The men at the front are perched in the air, while those behind cling precariously when the tank climbs an elevation, Smalley said.

An advantage of the tank riding, according to Lieutenant Hendrickson is "plenty to eat."

"Those fellows always carry four or five extra boxes of rations," he said.

Lieutenant Hendrickson was recently promoted from Second to First Lieutenant. He has received the Combat and Infantry Badges. 

While in the United States, he received training at Camp Croft, SC; Fort Benning, GA; and Camp Hale, CO. He was stationed in England before D-Day.