New at HCHM: A Soldier’s Trunk

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

Recently a gray-green metal metal trunk was donated to HCHM by the Hoffer family.

Soldier’s Trunk, ca, 1940. Belonged to Leonard Hoffer, 1941-1945. HCHM# 2017.9.1

On the top, in yellow paint the owner of the trunk was identified.

Leonard was born 31 March 1920.  Inducted into the U.S. Army in December 1941, only days before the Pearl Harbor attack.

“Notice of Selection” 7 November 1941. Document Courtesy Leonard Hoffer Family.

He went to basic training in Louisiana and received further training in the Mojave Desert in California. The trunk stored everything he needed while in the army.

Leonard Hoffer, ca. 1941. Photo Courtesy Leonard Hoffer Family

For a time he was a cook for the 143rd Signal Company.  His unit shipped overseas to southern England in preparation for the invasion of Normandy.  However, they did not land in France until about ten days after D-Day.

His unit was involved in various battles in France. He was part of the first American outfit to cross the border into Germany. Pushed back into Belgium, the unit was involved in the “Battle of the Bulge” in December 1944.  Leonard’s unit continued to be involved in various battles in Europe until the end of the war.

He was discharged from the Army in September 1945.

Leonard Hoffer, ca. 1941 Photo Courtesy Leonard Hoffer Family.

He died  20 March 1997.


  • Document describing Leonard Hoffer’s time in the army provided by Gary Hoffer and Carol Hoffer, HCHM Artifact Files.