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Roper, Victor (1922-1997) | Morse Department of Special Collections

Name: Roper, Victor (1922-1997)

Historical Note:

1922      Born April 19 near Barnes, Kansas, son of Floyd and Dora (Wesche) Roper

1940      Graduated high school in Barnes. Attended Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science

1943      Left Kansas State to enlist in US Army. Completed basic training at Fort McClellan, Alabama

1944      July 4: Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant.

              July 7: Married Alice Roelfs of Bushton, Kansas

              October 30: Completed 17-week course at Fort Benning, Georgia.

1945      January 10: Departed New York to Le Harve, France

              January 22: Arrived in Le Harve, France

              March: In combat in Germany in March. Reassigned to Red Cross Service Center in Metz, France. Transferred to Anti-Tank Platoon Leader in Battalion Headquarters. Alice Roper takes correspondence course in preparation for teaching. Assisted in liberation of concentration camp in Mauthausen, Austria.

              December 26: Appointed 1st Lieutenant

1946    January: Observed Nurnberg trials in. Returned to United States

1947    June 25: Graduated from Kansas State with B.S. in Accounting

1965    Transferred to Retired Reserve

1985    January 6: Retired from First National Bank as Senior Loan Officer

1997    March 1: Passed away in Manhattan, Kansas

          Victor Kenneth Roper was born April 19, 1922 near Barnes, Kansas, the son of Floyd and Dora (Wesche) Roper. Victor ("Vic") attended eight years of county school in the Maple Wood community before graduating from high school in Barnes in 1940. Victor attended Kansas State Agricultural College and was active in ROTC. Before he could graduate, Victor left Kansas State in 1943 to enlist in the US Army. While in basic training at Fort McClellan, Alabama, he courted Alice Roelfs of Bushton, Kansas via correspondence. He completed his training on October 30, 1943, and after a 17-week course at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant on July 4, 1944. On July 7, he married Alice in Washington County, Kansas.

        In the fall of 1944, Vic was stationed at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he prepared for war in Europe. After spending a short time with Alice in New York, Victor departed the United States on January 10, 1945 and arrived in Le Harve, France on January 22. He was deployed in Company E, 65th Division. As Infantry Platoon Leader, Victor was responsible for the training, supply, and tactical employment of the platoon. The 65th Division stayed at Camp Lucky Strike, where they lived in tents, dealt daily with snow and mud, and ate K rations. Victor’s time in France was filled with discomfort and anxious waiting, though at times this tension was broken by the receipt of letters and care packages of candy, cookies, popcorn, and clippings from the Kansas State Collegian. Victor spent much of his time in France training, censoring mail, and exploring the countryside. Beginning March 4 in Saarlautern, Germany, Victor saw three continuous weeks of combat. During this period, he could not bathe or change clothes. When another lieutenant, Henry Amster, was wounded and evacuated, Victor temporarily took command of that platoon. Later that month, he recuperated at the Red Cross Service Center in Metz, France. In April, he was a part of the first wave of allied soldiers to cross the Danube to take Regansburg. In April, he was transferred to Anti-Tank Platoon Leader in Battalion Headquarters.

          While Victor was away, Alice took a correspondence course in preparation for becoming a teacher in Barnes. After the war was officially over in May, Victor was made Information and Education Officer. That month he relocated to Linz, Austria, and a month later to Mauthausen. In June, Victor took part in the liberation of the concentration camp at Mauthausen, where he personally witnessed and documented the prisoners and mechanisms of genocide. By September, he was in Mons, Belgium, in charge of gasoline supply. From October 1945 until his departure, he handled the administration of 11,000 prisoners of war employed by the Base Depot. On December 26, 1945 he was appointed 1st Lieutenant and the following January he observed the Nurnberg Trials. He returned to the United States June 25, 1946, having served overseas a total of 18 months. Victor was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze and Silver Star Campaign Ribbons for the "Rhineland" and "Central Europe," the World War II Victor Medal, the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal, and the Combat Infantry Badge. Victor completed his separation from the service on August 28, 1946. He was transferred to the Retired Reserve on January 6, 1965.

        After the war, Victor returned to Manhattan and completed his studies at Kansas State, graduating with a B.S. in Accounting in 1947. He was employed 38 years by the First National Bank, retiring in 1985 as Senior Loan Officer. He was a member of the First Christian Church of Manhattan of which he was a Life Elder, Lions Club of which he was a Past President, and the Fraternal Order of United Commercial Travelers of which he was a Past Grand Counselor. Victor and Alice had two daughters, Barbara Kravitcz and Nina Moss, two sons, Dennis and James Roper, and five grandchildren. Victor Roper died on March 1, 1997, in Manhattan Kansas.

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