By Jennifer Martin - email
It was December 21, 1944, the Battle of the Bulge. Near the German-Belgian border, Vernon Brumfield and his fellow soldiers were taken as German prisoners of war. They marched for days, in the snow, until they were loaded onto a boxcar.
"We was packed in there like sardines. You couldn't hardly move and individuals got disentery... bad as a cattlecar."
They resumed the march, walking for days, with virtually no food or sleep.
"During the march as we'd go through the towns, the civilians would take your clothing and shoes. The best way to survive was to get in the middle of the column. If you're on the outside, they're going to take it and if you see a mound of potatoes, you can run and get back in line before they start beating you."
They stopped at Stalag 4B Muhlberg. There, Brumfield was able to trade his watch for cigarettes.
"Cigarettes was a medium of exchange. And Vernon Brumfield was in a position to exchange a cigarette for a sandwich."
He says the trading helped keep him alive.
"After a period of time they decided they were going to send me to slave labor. I went to work on the railroad. I acted like I was really doing a lot of heavy work. I put on more than I worked. Close to the end of the war, the Americans was coming from the west. Russians coming from the east. So they moved us out. We met at the Elbe River. American and Russian troops met. And Vernon Brumfield and his fellow Americans was liberated from the Nazi POW camp. And I don't think I will ever, ever become a slave to nobody again."
He stole a bicycle, and took off in search of revenge.
"I went on, looking for a German guard that had beat me in the back coming home from working on the railroad. Thank God I didn't find him because I was going to terminate his tail."
He flew out from Munich to Camp Lucky Strike. From there he went back to the states. His return surprised his family.
"Shoot, I walked in on em and the last accounts they had of me, I was missing in action. They didn't know whether I was dead or alive. They liked to fainted when I walked in."
Brumfield went back to school-- graduated from Southern and became a teacher. He married his sweetheart and had two children. He left the military with a love of God and country.
"I thank God for saving my life. I'm dedicated to this nation. I love this nation. It's the greatest nation on earth.
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