Adams County

Lt. Vernon Niebruegge




Relatives and friends of the late Lieutenant Vernon Niebruegge, paid beautiful tribute to his memory and heroism Sunday in a special service at the Federated church at 11 a. m.

Lieutenant Niebruegge’s photograph, flanked by red roses, had been placed in the church entrance, a mote reminder of the fineness of the young man, who had won so many friends here during his brief visits. Even the most casual acquaintance could not but be impressed by the character and worth of the young flier, who so early in the conflict had been called upon to make the supreme sacrifice.

Roses and snap dragons in beautiful arrangements had been place in the church. Music was furnished by the two vested choirs. The chancel choir in charge of Mrs. Evelyn Gamrath with Mrs. William Sperboe at the organ presented three anthems: “Consider and Hear Me,” Pflueger, Beverly Walls soloist; “Holy Art Thou” Handel, Kathryn Harrison soloist; “O, Lam of God” Ashford. The Junior choir sang the anthem, “Round the Lord in Glory Seated” Knowlton, directed by Mrs. Kathryn Harrison, Ruth Ann Coulier at the piano.

The Rev. J. Milton Strong of Lytton, Iowa, a college friend of the Rev. A. E. Nelson, presented the message of the morning from the pulpit. While it was a message to the living it was a beautiful tribute to the young hero, who had given his life in service to his country, whose unblemished character had left in its wake such sweet memories, to those who had been blessed in any way in association with him.

At the close of the service the audience remained standing while taps were played in the distance by Homer Snodgrass.

Vernon Niebruegge was born near Ellsworth, Minnesota on July 26, 1918. Following Vernon’s graduation from Buena Vista College he was accepted as a Seaman 2nd class and took his training at the base in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On November 25, 1940 he reported for his cadet training at Pensacola, Florida, receiving his commission as ensign on May 24, 1941; Lieut. (jg) on June 18, 1942; Lieut., spring of 1943.

On June 22, 1943, he was transferred to the base at San Diego and assigned to Squadron V. B. 108 as [a] pilot of a B24 plane, departing from the States the last week in September for active duty in the South Pacific.

Vernon’s plane was shot down on December 28, 1943 while on a bombing mission. He made the supreme sacrifice for his country and the high ideals for which he stood.

“To us the expression ‘an officer and a gentleman’ has a very real and deep significance. Certainly we have known no finer or more popular officer or gentleman than your son. It was characteristic of him, for instance, to remember every man in his crew with a gift on Christmas, and to sit and talk with them on that occasion, though there was little around to suggest Christmas. And none of us will ever forget a certain memorial service for an officer who had died in action, when Vernon organized and trained in a few minutes a choir of men in the squadron, found somewhere an organ (creaky but resounding), and led them in singing hymns which brought tears to our eyes.” (From a letter from Lieut. Ogden, personnel officer.)

His father, Reverend J. C. Elmore Niebruegge, preceded him in death on Jan. 11, 1927.

Surviving are his parents, Rev. and Mrs. A. E. Nelson; three brothers, Oliver, Marvin, David; two sisters, Erma and Ruth Ann; also a host of relatives and friends.

Those attending the commemoration services from a distance were Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Rininger, Mrs. U. G. Pederson, Mrs. Olis Hudson, Shalter, Iowa; Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Nelson, the former a brother of A. E. Nelson, of Lennox, South Dakota; Rev. and Mrs. J. M. Siroug of Lytton, Iowa; Ens. Oliver Neibruegge, here on leave; and Erma Nelson who is in nurses’ training in Council Bluffs.

Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, March 02, 1944, Page 6

NOTE: Rev. A. E. Nelson was a pastor at Corning, Iowa.

Vernon Edward Henry Niebruegge was born July 28, 1918 to Elmore E. C. and Reka Lindaman Niebruegge. He died Dec. 28, 1943, and is memorialized at the Courts of the Missing, Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii.