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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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HOFFMAN, Albert. (Dubuque, IA,-Dubuque, IA, Apr. 25, 1983). Chaplain. Hoffman, one of the most decorated chaplains of WORLD WAR II, served in the African and Italian campaigns. Serving with the 34th Infantry Division at Monte Cassino, Italy, Hoffman was riding with a patrol on point when he saw a soldier in a minefield, wounded but moving his hand. Father Hoffmann felt it was his duty as a priest to rescue that man or give him last rites. Nobody in the patrol initially volunteered to go with him because it was an active minefield, but eventually two medics decided to accompany him.

Hoffman set out with his team and managed to reach the soldier safely. He picked the soldier up, put him on his shoulder, and almost returned safely before stepping on a mine that blew his leg off. Hoffman lay in the minefield four hours before the medics could clear enough mines to get him out. He survived, and so did the soldier who was German.

When he got back to London, Hoffman got a prosthesis and immediately volunteered to serve as a chaplain on an amputation ward in an American military hospital in London. Among his many medals, Hoffman received the DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS, the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.

Prior to service in the war, Hoffman had been assistant pastor at SACRED HEART CHURCH. After the war he returned to LORAS COLLEGE where he taught in the religious department from 1946 to 1964. From his retirement in 1977 until his death, Hoffman assisted religious services at SAINT PATRICK'S CHURCH in Dubuque.