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Flag honors South Range veteran of Battle of the Bulge in WWII

A South Range man who played a role in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 is honored Friday with a Flag of Remembrance. The flag for World War II veteran Vernon B. Hoag Sr. will be raised outside the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center at 9 a.m. by members of the Richard I. Bong American Legion Post 435.

Hoag was a private first class in the United States Army, 26th Yankee Division. Born in Superior on May 26, 1924, he passed away Dec. 6, 2017. He grew up in South Range and attended school there.

Hoag entered military service during WWII by reporting to the Chicago Northwestern Depot at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 9, 1943. With the U.S. Army, he trained at Camp Jackson in South Carolina and Camp Gordon in Georgia. After the Battle of Normandy (D-Day) on June 6, 1944, Hoag traveled by boat overseas where he spent 16 months. During that time, his service took him to France, Germany and Belgium — the homeland of his grandparents who had immigrated to the United States in 1900.

Hoag drove the surveyor truck for the survey division, which was instrumental during the Battle of the Bulge. They were responsible for relaying information and positioning of the heavy artillery during this crucial battle. The survey team was positioned between the front line and heavy artillery.

Hoag received the Good Conduct Medal and was deactivated Dec. 25, 1945. He received an honorable discharge from Fort Sheridan, Illinois, on Dec. 30, 1945. After the war, Hoag became an auto body repairman and worked at Larson Chevrolet for 40 years.

Hoag is survived by Irene, his wife of almost 70 years; children, Susan (Thomas) Van Hornweder, Barb Hoag and Vernon B. (Diane) Hoag Jr.; grandchildren, Mark (Rachel) Van Hornweder, Kristy Van Hornweder, Michael Hoag and Tracy (Dave) Hilt; great-grandchildren, Tessa, Caleb, Jasper and Acadia; and many nieces and nephews.

The entire Hoag family is proud of his service to his country and are happy to have a flag flown in his memory.

Sponsored by American Legion Post 435, the Flag of Remembrance Program honors the life and memory of one deceased veteran every week. A flag is raised over the Bong Center at 9 a.m. Friday by members of Post 435 and lowered the following Friday at 8:30 a.m. Information about the veteran is on display at the center throughout the week.

This event is free and open to the public.

For information about the program, contact John Vaski, (715) 394-7693; Scott Markle, (218) 269-4675 or the center at (715) 392-7151 or info@bvhcenter.org.

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