Omer Lemire was born in 1915 to George and Elvina Lemire in the Badlands of North Dakota. He was the sixth child of twelve children and was born in a sod shack, twelve miles from Medora, North Dakota. He completed high school education after he entered the U.S. Army. He enlisted in the army with two weeks of high school remaining. To complete his education and receive his diploma, his high school mailed the exams to Fort Levenworth, Kansas where he completed the exams and mailed them back to the high school.
Lemire served in the U.S. Army on two separate occasions. After enlisting while in high school he was discharged from that service in 1938. Also in 1938 he was married in September to Orentha Ingram of Holland, Arkansas. The couple had their first child, George Ingram Lemire, in September 1940, and their second son, Kenneth Eugene Lemire, was born in 1942.
He entered the military for the second time in November 1942. This time he was drafted. He took his physical on December 7, 1942 and was sworn in at Little Rock, Arkansas. He was soon a sergeant and sent to cadre school to become a drill sergeant. The majority of his army career was spent as a drill sergeant. As World War II began to wind down Lemire, now a sergeant, wanted to see action in Europe. His request for transfer was granted and he shipped out from Fort Mead Maryland in January 1945.
He was transported to La Harve, France by a captured Italian linter which had twelve decks. Upon his arrival in Europe he was first assigned to Camp Luck Strike which overlooked the harbor. After two days at Camp Lucky Strike he was sent to Rimes, France and became a member of General Patton’s Third Army. Sergeant Lemire replaced another sergeant who was a squad leader in Company B 11th Combat Engineers. This outfit was a portable bridge unit which erected portable bridges across streams up to 100 feet wide. These bridges could support the weight of Sherman tank which weighed approximately 33 tons.
While serving as a combat engineer Sergeant Lemire was requested to visit the Dachau Concentration Camp in May 1945. He complied with the request and made the trip to Dachau via army truck. He was not prepared for what he would see at Dachau; bodies staked like cord wood about 5 feet high and at least fifteen feet long. This single event would have an impact on Lemire for the rest of his life. He took several photos of the bodies and these photos are part of his collection. Germany surrendered while Lemire was in Munich, Germany
Sergeant Omer Lemire returned to the United State in January 1946, and was mustered out of the army shortly thereafter. He secured work as a carpenter and worked in construction as a supervisor of carpenters until his retirement in 1973. After the death of his first wife Mr. Lemire married Freda Hensley. Sgt. Lemire died in August of 2009 at age 93.
File 1 – Memories of Sergeant Omer Lemire
File 2A– World War II Photos – Dachau Prison
File 2B- 8 World War II Photos – Auschwitz Prison
File 2C – World War II Photos – Misc
File 3 – Veterans of Foreign Wars Award
File 4 – Omer Lemire’s Route Through Germany
File 5 – Picture, Honor from the White House
File 6 – Log Cabin Democrat Article on Sgt. Lemire
File 7 – 11th Engr. C. Bn. 1945, Rock, Black Panther Emblem worn on uniform
File 8 – Manuscript – Born in the Badlands – by Omer Lemire
File 9 – Manuscript – Badland Bill McCarty – by Omer Lemire
File 10-Newspaper Articles – “Archives Receive WWII Papers” – Nov. 30. 2000
File 11-Omer Lemire: Oral Interview – by Jimmy Bryant – Jan. 23, 2002
File 12-Book – My Brother’s Voice: How a Young Hungarian Boy Survived the Holocaust – A True Story by Stephen Nasser with Sherry Rosenthal, 2003
File 13- Newspaper – Log Cabin Democrat – Sun. May 23, 2010. Article, “Local WWII Vet’s Autobiography Reprinted”
Item 1 -10 Volume C.D. Set “WWII Remembered: An Oral History of Arkansas Veterans”, Vol. 1 – 10
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