Illinois Veterans Home resident recognized for heroic stand to save Luxembourg during WWII


Gaston Stronk, left, ambassador of Luxembourg to the United States, presents the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Rank of Officer, to Nick Scull, right, a resident at the Illinois Veterans Home, during a ceremony on June 12. Assisting Stronk is Scull's son, Jeff, middle.

QUINCY — Nick Scull of Sandwich, Ill., now living at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, received the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Rank of Officer, during a June 12 ceremony near the Adams County World War II Memorial.

Gaston Stronk, ambassador of Luxembourg to the United States, made the presentation. 

Scull, 96, was recognized for his service in the U.S. Army during the early days of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. Scull served with Company B of the 103 Engineers Battalion. The story of Scull and his fellow patriots is documented in the book, “Heroes of Hosingen: Their Untold Story” by Alice M. Flynn.

The “Heroes of Hosingen” details what happened in the village of Hosingen, Luxembourg, the last garrison of the 110th Infantry Regiment to fall in the early days of the Battle of the Bulge. Three hundred men made a historic stand against an army of up to 5,000 of Hitler’s elite German soldiers, supported by as many as 20 superior German tanks and artillery. 

K Company, 125 men from Company B, the 103rd Engineers Battalion, the 2nd and 3rd platoons of M Company, the 2nd platoon of 630th Tank Destroyer Company, 20 men from a “Raider” unit and five tanks from A Company, 707th Tank Battalion, worked together to make it as difficult as possible for the German army to move its men and equipment past the village on their way to Bastogne. 

Those men carried out their “hold at all cost” orders for 2 ½ days until they had exhausted all their resources, leaving an estimated 2,000 Germans dead or wounded in the open fields surrounding the village. Abandoned by the division’s other units, surrounded and out of ammunition, food and water, the men waved the white flag. 

The men surrendered to the Nazis mid-day on Dec. 18, 1944. Their delaying actions helped stall the advance of Hitler’s army long enough to allow the 101st Airborne to arrive at and defend the critical crossroads city of Bastogne on Dec. 18, before the bulk of Hitler’s forces could arrive. 

Forced to endure the unimaginable to survive, eight of Hosingen’s Heroes told stories of forced marches for hundreds of miles during the coldest winter on record, starvation and physical and emotional abuse. 

An American ex-prisoner of war, Scull was held captive for four months in Mannschafts-Stammlager (Stalag) IX-B in Germany.  Stalag IX-B was considered one of the worst camps in Germany for British and American prisoners.

Scull received the American Theater Ribbon, the European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with four Bronze Battle Stars, two Overseas Service Bars and a Purple Heart during his service.

Scull entered the Veterans Home, along with his wife, Pat, in late May.

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