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A Tradition of Service Logo 75Ben H. Ripperda

Submitted by: Thomas Ripperda {grandson}

no photo 300

Ben H. Ripperda served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The dates of service are: Known June 24, 1918 to June 7, 1919.


My grandfather, Ben H. Ripperda, was drafted into the Army on June 24, 1918 at the age of 25 and served in World War 1. Ben was born in the farmhouse that his grandfather built in Section 20 of Germantown, Illinois. His primary language was German and English was secondary.

Since he was a farmer, he took care of the horses in an Artillery unit (3rd Batt.). He arrived in France in October of 1918, by this time there were a lot of German prisoners were being moved to the rear, Ben was taken off stable duty and assigned to guarding the German Prisoners of War (POWs). My grandfather started asking in German if there were any Ripperdas among them. The other guards took his rifle and placed him with the German POWs.

After a few minutes, Ben’s company commander, Captain Adams, came walking by. My grandfather started yelling in broken English, “Captain Adams, Captain Adams, Captain Adams.” Adams stopped after hearing his name looked around and saw my grandfather with the POWs. Captain Adams got him out and forbid my grandfather from speaking German.

Because of that, Ben’s English improved but not much. Ben was a charter member of Diesen-Winkler Post 325 located in Germantown. His honorable discharge issued on June 7, 1919 from Camp Grant, Illinois shows him to be five feet 9 inches tall with brown eyes, black hair and a ruddy complexion. The papers show that he was a private and his final pay was $108.60 that included a $60.00 bonus.

He returned to the same farm after his discharge and was still farming until his death in 1979 at the age of 86. Three of his sons (Norbert, Virgil and Cyril) served in the military as well as two grandsons.


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