On April 18 and 19, 2023, we had the pleasure and honor of meeting relatives of Captain Fred Sklar of the 25th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (4th Armored Division) who went missing in action on December 25, 1944.

Born on  August 13, 1919, Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana (USA).

Family:
Sam Sklar (father)
Ida (Siegel) Sklar (mother)
Betty Sklar (sister)
Albert Sklar (brother)

Army Serial Number: O-397469

On those two days, we tried to provide the family (Captain Sklar was the uncle) with the full story of what happened to him on December 24 and 25, 1944 and after.

After being pulled up from the front in the Alsace, France, the 4th Armored Division (to which the 25th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron was part of) was moved to the north in order to counter the German offensive in the Ardennes.

Combat Command B moved from the Fauvillers area towards Bastogne, when it met heavy resistance at Chaumont and the nearby woods (Lambaichenet Woods) and was thrown back on December 23, 1944.

Throughout December 23 and 24, 1944, German troops of the 5. Fallschirmjäger (Paratroop) Division hampered movement of the Americans. On December 24, 1944, Captain Sklar lead a small patrol of two men into the Lambaichenet Woods to reconnoiter the German positions and strength. After a heavy but brief firefight, the two men had to pull out of the woods … Captain Sklar however did not follow behind.

When later that day, troops were sent in those woods to look for Captain Sklar, no body could be found. The only evidence of the firefight was a damaged helmet and some blood on the ground.

Captain Sklar continued to be stated as “missing in action” (MIA). Lieutenant James Carberry took over command of B Troop, 25th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron.

Even to this day, the Captain still is officially MIA.

What happened?

After some extensive research and with the important help of Ivan Steenkiste, Roland Gaul and several other people, this is the story so far (more details are elsewhere on this site);

When Captain Sklar and his two men went on the reconnaissance patrol into the Lambaichenet Woods, German paratroopers opened fire, wounding the Captain in the head. He was immediately captured and then sent to Hollange. From there, he was taken to a German aid station (probably of the 26. Volksgrenadier Division) in Niederwampach (Luxembourg) where he presumably died of his wound and was buried at a temporary cemetery nearby.

After the end of hostilities, he presumably was re-buried by Luxembourg collaborators in a bigger temporary burial site near Oberwampach). In 1947, remains of an unknown soldier were brought to the (now) Luxembourg American Military Cemetery (Hamm, Luxembourg) where they were buried as unknown X-189. It is highly possible that these rmains could be those of the unfortunate Captain Fred Sklar. This case is currently  under investigation by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).

It is our sincere hope that soon a positive identification will take place and that Captain Sklar is identified and brought back home to his family.

The following photos were taken by Jeffrey and Sandi Kallenberg, Ivan Steenkiste and Erwin Verholen.

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