Army Veteran Ernest Boyd Hunter Jr. is today’s Veteran of the Day.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Ernest Boyd Hunter Jr., who served in the 78th Infantry Division (“Lightning Division”) during World War II and was a prisoner of war.

Ernest Boyd Hunter Jr. served in the infantry during the brunt of World War II. He was taken by the Germans as a prisoner of war (POW) during the Battle of the Bulge and was liberated in a joint effort by Russian and U.S. forces near the end of the war.

Hunter enlisted in the Army in 1943 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, shortly after graduating high school. He spent 18 weeks at Camp Wheeler, Georgia. When he was given a choice between the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and the Army Specialized Training Program, he chose the latter. Following this choice, he was sent to the University of Connecticut for six months. Then, he was sent to Camp Pickett, Virginia, to serve with the 78th Division of the Infantry, also called the “Lightning Division.”

Hunter deployed to Europe during World War II. When the 78th Division was preparing for combat in Germany, the Battle of the Bulge took his unit by surprise. Hunter and two other soldiers escaped to the basement of an abandoned house to avoid German capture. This lasted for six days under harsh winter conditions. Hunter later said that the supply of wine and cigarettes was depleted in the first day, and for the rest of the time, he ate only canned string beans and drank the leftover juice to survive. He contracted frostbite, leading to what he called “frozen feet.”

German troops soon found them and sent them to Stammlager IV-B, a German camp for POWs. Hunter was treated by British medics in this camp until he was able to walk normally on his feet. He spent four months as a POW before he was set free by the Russian army who transferred him to a convoy of trucks sent by the U.S. Army. He was sent to Camp Lucky Strike in France until he was given transport to return to the United States.

Hunter left the service at the end of the war in 1945. He died in April 2021.

We honor his service.


Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

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: Kim McAdams

Editors: Annabelle Colton, Theresa Lyon

Researchers: Giacomo Ferrari

Graphic artist: Kiki Kelley

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One Comment

  1. Senior Veterans Care Network June 13, 2022 at 11:49 am

    We honor the service of Ernest Boyd Hunter Jr.

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