Marion County

Capt. Elmer H. "Dutch" Vermeer



They Fought in the Bloodiest Battles of World War II


After the baptism at Dieppe, the Rangers kept training new volunteers, Elmer (Dutch) Vermeer took training for the Normandy invasion on the Isle of Wight.  He and Max Schneider of Shenandoah were members of the Second and Fifth Ranger Battalions that scaled almost impossible cliffs on D-Day, June 6, 1944, to destroy German gun batteries.

Before the D-Day invasion, Rangers had participated in invasions of North Africa, Sicily, Salerno and Anzio (in Italy.) Later they took part in invasions of Leyte and Luzon in the Philippines.  They participated in major battles at Arzew, Dernia Pass, El Guettar, Gela, Licata, Porto Empodocile, Butera, Messina, Chiunzi Pass, Venafro, San Pietro, Cisterna, Omaha Beach, Vierville, Grancamp, La Coquet Peninsula, Brest, Huertgen Forest, Point Du Hoc, Hill 400 and 105, Zerf, Oberleuken, the Bulge, Leyte and Manila.

Source: The DesMoines Register, Sunday, July 27, 1975 - page 21 (photo included)

Elmer H. “Dutch” Vermeer was born June 7, 1920 to Jacob G. and Anna Elsie Haven Vermeer. He died May 23, 1989 and is buried in Oak Wood Cemetery, Pella, IA.

Capt. Vermeer served in World War II with the U.S. Army 2nd Division, 2nd Ranger Battalion, 135th Engineers. As a demolition officer with the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion, Headuqarters Company he fought in some of WWII’s bloodiest battles. His outfit hit the Normandy beaches, suffering 75 percent casualties. He blew up a Nazi observation post which had held out against previous assaults for 36 hours and was awarded the Silver Star. He was also awarded the Bronze Service Arrowhead.