Edgar L. Van Nuis grew up in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and graduated from Highland Park High School. Van Nuis enrolled as a cadet at Virginia Tech when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Because many of his peers enlisted, Van Nuis also enlisted in the Army.
He received basic training at Fort McClellan and further training at Camp Atterbury with the 106th Infantry Division. Van Nuis went in the cannon company because of his college background.
The cannon company soon made its way to relieve the Infantry 2nd Infantry Division at the frontlines in December. Shortly afterwards, the Battle of the Bulge began. Three days into the battle, Germans captured Van Nuis after an ambush.
The Germans sent Van Nuis to a prisoner of war camp. Upon arrival, Van Nuis moved from one line into another line that had already been searched. He kept his boots and other items that the guards would have taken. He endured several months as a prisoner of war under poor conditions and saw the effects of the turning tide of the war on the camp guards. Later, forces liberated the prisoner of war camp, and Van Nuis began his journey back home.
The Army discharged Van Nuis in 1945 as a corporal. For his service, Van Nuis earned a Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, European Campaign Medal with two battle stars and a Victory Medal.
Van Nuis returned to Virginia Tech and graduated from in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering. He married Jane LeCato Van Nuis in June 1949. They shared 67 years of marriage. The two started a family and continued to live in New Jersey. Van Nuis became the CEO of The Van Nuis Company, an executive outplacement consulting service. He was also a member of the First Reformed Church of New Brunswick as well as the Holland Society of New York.
Van Nuis passed away in July 2017 at the age of 94.
More can be found about his story at the Veteran’s History Project at http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/bib/loc.natlib.afc2001001.00555
We honor his service.
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This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Fact checker: Brett Raffish