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US Army 9th Armored Division shoulder sleeve insignia patch issued to a soldier

Object | Accession Number: 2013.442.5

Shoulder sleeve insignia, 9th Armored Division, issued to Captain James Edward Kirkebo, who served in the US Army from 1940-1945, and fought in Europe from December 1944-May 1945. The patch colors represent the military branches that form an armored division: yellow for cavalry, blue for infantry, and red for artillery. The symbols represent characteristics: tank track, mobility and armor protection; cannon, fire power; red flash of lightning, shock action. Kirkebo, age 19, enlisted in the US Army on September 14, 1940. In August 1942, 2nd Lieutenant Kirkebo became commanding officer, C Company, 21st Armored Infantry Battalion, 11th Armored Division, Third Army. In December 1944, Kirkebo's unit landed in Normandy, and defended Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. The 11th Armored spearheaded the Allied advance into Germany and pushed through to Austria. Kirkebo received a battlefield promotion to captain on February 1, 1945. On May 5 and 6, soldiers from the 11th Armored liberated Gusen and Mauthausen concentration camps. At Mauthausen, they discovered over 19,000 starving inmates. The unit was tasked with caring for the inmates and improving camp conditions. On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. Kirkebo was on occupational duty until early October when he returned to the US. Kirkebo was awarded a Silver Star and 3 Bronze Stars for his heroism and leadership in action.

issue:  1945 September-1945 October
Military Insignia
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Estate of James Edward Kirkebo
Record last modified: 2023-08-28 10:35:28
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