- Name: Harley Newton Kiger
- Location of Birth: Steele, North Dakota
- Date of Birth: September 6, 1922
- Date of Death: December 31, 2019 (97 years old)
- Parents: Newton Kiger and Junia (Sour) Kiger
- High School and Class: Eighth grade
- Highest Rank: TEC 5 (Technical 5)
- Branch: Army
- Other Branch:
- Date Sworn In: March 27, 1943
- Place Sworn In: Fort Snelling, Minnesota
- Date of Discharge: October 20, 1945
- Place of Discharge: Camp McCoy, Wisconsin
Units and Locations:
Start Date End Date Unit(s) and Location(s) Served March, 1943 October, 1945 6th Armor Division - 3rd Army - Patton
- Military Awards:
Good Conduct Medal
Battle Star Medals
Combat Rope Ribbon
- Military Highlights:
Newspaper article: Grand Rapids Herald-Review, Grand Rapids, Minnesota - September 5, 1945
T5 Harley Kiger has been awarded a Bronze Star and a certificate of merit for meritorious service with the United States army in Germany. Sgt. Kiger has been in the service for 29 months and has been overseas for 19 months. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Newton Kiger. His wife, the former Neoma Herrick of Hill City, is now residing in San Antonio, California."
Harley served in the United States Army with the 3rd Armored Division under General Patton during World War II.
Per article from Grand Rapids Herald Review on October 2, 2011:
"...Harley Kiger spent the war in Europe in the 6th Armored Division under General George Patton.
When stationed in Nancy, France, orders came down for Kiger and his company to take these two German towns near the border that were ammunition towns. Provided they accomplish their mission, they were going to get 10 days R&R.
"You know what the guys done; they went crazy. "We'll get them right away!". It was just a matter of a day and they were pulling us back to have our 10 days off."
After the victory, Kiger and his fellow soldiers began their 10 days with a large, home cooked meal, before going their separate ways to enjoy themselves. But later that evening, the company commander called on Kiger to round up the troops because they were heading out.
"You want me to get shot?" Kiger recalled asking his commander after being given his orders. "You just gave these guys 10 days off."
With the exception of one man, he rounded up the soldiers and they shipped out. At the time, they didn't know where they were going, but they were leaving to fight the Battle of the Bulge.
Another episode from his time on the front lines involved a humorous confrontation in a high pressure situation.
"My job was a kind of escort, or recon, in my jeep. And my duty that day was to take these 18 tanks to the front lines. So we're going down this road, and here we come to an MP (Military Police) that had the road stopped; he was pushing other traffic through." recalled Kiger. "Finally I reached up over the edge of my windshield on my jeep and I said "Soldier, will you get that *bleep* thing out of my way? I need to get these tanks to the front lines."
"He stepped back and away we went. Sure enough, it was Patton, with his pearl handled pistols and everything. Just looked like a soldier standing there, directing traffic."
- Wars Involved:
World War II
- MIA / POW:
- Civilian Life:
On October 4, 2011, the second flight from Honor Flight Northland took off from Duluth, Minnesota to Washington, D.C. and Harley Kiger was on that flight. There is about a 30-45 minutes interview with Harley Kiger on www.WW2bji.org.
On August 29, 1943, Harley was united in marriage to Neoma Herrick in Hill City, Minnesota. Harley and Neoma were married for 19 years before her passing in 1963. Harley married Maxine Wourms on February 14, 1964 in Hibbing, Minnesota. He was employed with Independent School District 318 as a custodian. Following his retirement from the school district, he began working for the Second Harvest Food Bank and volunteered at the food shelf, and for 22 years was a director's assistant at Rowe Funeral Home. Harley was a life member of the Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 2023 where he achieved the Pilgrim Degree of Merit, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans, all of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Also, he was a member of the American Legion Post 60 of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. He loved hunting, fishing, gardening, and playing cribbage.
He is preceded in death by his parents; first wife, Neoma; sisters, Hazel Christopherson, Helen Lesarge, and Hertha Carlson; and one brother, Harry Kiger.
Harley is survived by his wife of 55 years, Maxine; daughters, Carol Trout and Christine Rich; son, Kraig (Bev) Kiger; three grandchildren, Wesley (Julie) Trout, Jason Storm, and Katrina (Eric) Bolduc; eight great grandchildren; five great-great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Burial will be in Itasca Calvary Cemetery at Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
- Tribal Affiliation(s):