World War II veteran recognized with POW medal

TOLEDO – World War II Army veteran Bob Reinbrecht, Tama, spent more than four months as a German Prisoner of War during World War II, from Dec. 21, 1944 to April 30, 1945.

He was serving in the U.S. Army 106th Infantry Division at the time of his capture. During captivity his weight dropped from 150 pounds to 90.

But Reinbrecht, now 91, survived the ordeal and a lot more. He was finally honored with the World War II POW medal. He is the last known living Tama County POW.

On Tuesday afternoon at the Toledo American Legion Hall, he received the recognition in a ceremony led by Elizabeth Ledvina, Tama County director of Veterans Affairs and Legion Post 72 commander. Kim Taylor, Cedar Rapids, senior constituent advocate in the office of U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, made the presentation on behalf of the senator.

Reinbrecht, in receiving the medal, showed his one “and only” memento of that time as a prisoner of war.

“I remember getting one Red Cross package during that time,” he said.

It contained among other items, cigarettes, he said.

“I never smoked,” he recalled and said other prisoners were anxious to have tobacco.

He then displayed a ring he obtained in trade from a fellow prisoner who Bob believes was a Russian soldier.

Legionaries and friends of Reinbrecht were on hand Tuesday. His brother, Wayne, of Marshalltown and a former longtime downtown Tama hardware and furniture dealer was also present.

Ledvina requested the medal through Harkin’s office after learning of their availability last year.