MOES, Fernand

Portrait de Fernand Moes
Registration Nr.:     09812
Birthday:    15.06.1931, Paris (F)
Father:    Dominique MOES
Mother:    Florence ERPELDING
Service entry:    15.11.1949
Contingent:    1st
Ranks:    Soldat de 2e Classe
                  Soldat de 1re Classe (1950)
Death:    13.09.2003


Called up for compulsory military service on 15 November 1949, Fernand reported to the first contingent in September 1950. Probably even before the Chinese attack at the Imjin River, he fell sick which caused him to be hospitalized in early to mid April 1951. Under surveillance of the Belgian military mission he was transferred back to luxembourg. 

After he returned on 5 May 1951, he was discharged from the Army. He later immigrated to the United States, where he settled in Rush City, close to Minneapolis, Minnesota. The attached article from "Stars and Stripes" magazine not only shows his affiliation with the U.S. Army, but also summarizes his personal fate during World War II and the Korean War as someone who escaped both the Nazis and the Reds. Considering the heroism and patriotism in the article, the story must be treated with caution. School reports have shown that during most parts of WWII, Fernand was a regular student in Bonnevoie, Luxembourg City. Furthermore, having only reached the age of 12 at the final phase of the war, it lacks on credibility for him to have joined the Maquis and fought the Nazis in France. Neither was he later in Korea ranked a Lieutenant, nor was he captured by the “Reds”.

New U.S. Soldier Escaped Both Nazis, Reds

FR. HOOD, Tex. (INS) – Basic training at Ft. Hood is “old hat” for Army Pvt. Gene Fernand Moes, whose military career includes service with French underground in World War II and action during the Korean fighting with a detachment from Luxembourg.

Two escapes – one from a German stalag in 1944 and the other from a Communist prison camp after being captured in Korea – are in Moes’ service record. His father, a former Luxembourg senator, was liquidated by the Nazis when he resisted occupation in 1940, and his mother was left an invalid from the shock. 

Running away to France, young Moes joined a group of other youths dedicated to making trouble for the Nazis. Their mission in the underground, or Maquis, included demolition and sabotage of Nazi installations and rescues of Allied airmen captured by German patrols. Aiding an American flyer to escape, to neutral Switzerland resulted in Moes’ capture by the Nazis, but he managed to break loose and joined another underground brigade in Marseilles. He moved north to meet Allied troops after D-day and travelled the long road back to Luxembourg, staying close to Free French forces. 

With the war’s end and the uneasy peace that followed, Moes joined the Luxembourg Army and earned a commission as a second lieutenant in the small force of 2.200 men. Fifty-four soldiers from the ranks of that tiny Luxembourg Army were sent to Korea when the fighting broke out there in 1950 and Moes was appointed liaison officer between his detachment and the 3rd Inf. Div. Captured by the Communists, Moes was taken on a forced march to a prison camp in China. But the young officer, calling upon his underground experience, escaped and took a badly wounded American sergeant with him. The pair made their way to Hongkong. Six months after this capture, the Luxembourg soldier was back home.

In 1955, Moes found a sponsor for citizenship in Minneapolis and headed for the U.S. where he enlisted in the Army for a three year “hitch” almost immediately. He is assigned to the B Battery, 197th FA Bn., 4th Armored Div. He says of his Army plans: “I want to stay 20 years. This country is just what I expected. – Gold doesn’t grow on trees, but there is freedom here and opportunity.”

"Pacific Stars and Stripes", 18.7.1956. Courtesy by Anthony Bard