Claude Widerman served in the Army as a refrigeration officer in the 3071st Quartermaster Refrigeration Company from 1943 to 1946, achieving the rank of captain. His unit supported advancing troops. His company supplied fresh and frozen food, primarily to the Seventh Army.
Widerman often faced challenges such as the logistics of maintaining a fleet of semi tractors and refrigerated trailers during a time when mobile mechanical refrigeration was still in its infancy. His unit also maintained a schedule of pickups from supply depots and made deliveries to Army encampments. Often times, tires from trucks would go flat. Widerman recalled that replacing them was nearly a full-time job in itself.
During his service, Widerman deployed to Wales, mainland Europe, the Philippines and finally to occupied Japan. In order to prepare for the invasion of the Japanese home islands, Widerman was assigned to accompany his unit’s reefer tractor-trailers onboard a merchant liberty ship from Marseilles to Manila. While his unit made its way to the Philippines, the war ended.
For his time in service, Widerman received the Army Occupation Ribbon, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the American Campaign Medal.
Upon returning home after the war, Widerman married in 1950 and had three sons. He went on to start a successful farm equipment business in Westminster, Maryland. Widerman and his wife are now 96 years old and are living in a retirement community in Adamstown, Maryland.
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