Aroffo, Ernest G.
Aroffo, Ernest G.
Ernest G. Aroffo
Ernest Aroffo attempted to enlist in 1942, but he didn’t weigh enough, and was turned away. He was drafted six months later in 1942. Ernest was sent to Fort Custer for training in October 1942 and stayed there for two years at the request of his superiors. In 1944, he was sent to Fort Sheridan for more training, and then to the field hospital group at Camp Grant in Illinois. His last stop in the US was in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he was promoted to 1st Sergeant of the 1st platoon. As 1st Sergeant of the 1st platoon, he had control of duties in the ranks. He and his others arrived at the Normandy beaches in October 1944 after D-day. Ernest later described his experience arriving on the beach after the battle. His mobile hospital unit was 29 men, with two nurses and two doctors. Their job was to work with the 3rd Army and keep up with them, and to perform medical services, mainly surgery. Ernest’s unit traveled with two jeeps, a two & one-half ton truck and an ambulance, while the 3rd Army was mostly a mechanized division. From France, they traveled through Belgium and Luxembourg, staying for about three days each. Eventually, his unit and the 3rd Army would enter Germany and visit cities like Metz and Nuremberg. The mobile unit mainly worked within cities, using ambulances to transport those in need of treatment (from the field and those within the cities). They were within 15 minutes of conflict, so they had access to the wounded. His unit later entered a concentration camp and was assigned to delouse the detainees. He described to listeners what he saw, including the barracks and the victims. Ernest’s last stop was Nuremberg. and he later described to listeners the two hospital buildings he worked in, and the patients he saw. While in Germany with the 3rd Army, he volunteered to rescue an injured man in a snow-covered minefield. He successfully brought this man back to the medical unit. Ernest was twice given a bronze star for his heroism. The first was from General Patton, who at the time was not a full 4-star General, and thus without the proper authority to award the star. So, a second General, who was a 4-star, awarded Ernest a second bronze star later. He kept a memorandum while overseas documenting the experiences he had. His old platoon now meets as a veteran’s group.
Dates of Service
Drafted; United States Army; 65th Field Hospital, 3rd Army; World War, 1939-1945; Second World War - European Theater; Staff Sergeant
Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Second World War - European Theater