Charles M. Amsler was born in May 1913 in Bridgeport, Illinois. He later relocated to Evansville, Indiana, where he received his draft notice just before Christmas in 1942. Amsler went to Fort Benjamin Harrison for basic training, and later Mississippi, followed by Memphis.
He subsequently shipped off from New York on a boat with 700 others, on their way to Europe. During their journey, Amsler was always aware that a torpedo could have unknowingly hit them at any time and thus preferred to stay up on the top deck of the ship at all times. Here, Amsler learned basic medicine and how to administer help. Amsler was a part of the 182nd Medical Group Battalion with the rank of staff sergeant.
The medical group battalion consisted of 21 personnel: seven officers, and 14 enlisted men. The first stop for the battalion was England for a 30-day stay to pick up equipment and other supplies. From England, the battalion went to France and lastly, Belgium. Amsler was a part of the Battle of the Bulge, helping support injured troops. He wasn’t out on the front lines, however, at times he was within miles of the fighting. General Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the battalion to go into the first concentration camp in Ebensee, Austria. Amsler recalled that going into camps where people had been held prisoner and killed out in the open was undoubted “an experience.” Amsler had severely injured his knee during the battalion’s time in Belgium, which later transformed itself into bone cancer. He had to get his left leg removed in 1947.
After the War, Amsler went on to work with Sears and Roebuck for 40 years as a unit control manager until his retirement in 1975. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans. Amsler’s son, Marty, was a part of the Chicago Bears allowing him and his wife Helena to enjoy attending games in Chicago.
Amsler passed away on Sept. 29, 2006.
We honor his service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Harshini Ravi
Editor: Essence McPherson
Fact checker: Alexander Nordahl
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