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Major General Holger N. Toftoy was an instructor at West Point who became Chief of the Army's Ordnance Technical Intelligence team in Europe where he led efforts to discover and capture useful technologies developed by the Germans. His work allowed the United States to acquire a full report on Germany's V-2 rocket technology and employ several of the top German scientists working on the project by allowing them to defect to the United States. In 1952, Toftoy supervised America's top rocket scientists at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. Toftoy later became the commander of the arsenal, leading the team that developed the Jupiter-C rocket that launched America`s first satellite into space. Toftoy's work helped make the small cotton town of Huntsville the "rocket capital of the world." In honor of these achievements, this memorial stone was placed in Big Spring Park.

  • Toftoy holding a model Jupiter-C rocket. Courtesy of
  • Toftoy as a cadet at West Point. Courtesy of
  • Doris Toftoy Williams with the memorial plaque to her father in 1958.
Major General Holger N. Toftoy was born October 31, 1902, in Marseilles, Illinois. Nicknamed Lundy by close friends and family, Toftoy displayed an aptitude for science. While at the University of Wisconsin, Toftoy joined the ROTC and later studied at West Point military academy where he graduated in 1926. Toftoy was commissioned to the Army Air Corps after graduation. After several mishaps, he transferred to coast artillery school where he met and married his wife Hazel.

After five years, Toftoy accepted a teaching position at West Point. In the mid-thirties, Toftoy attended battery school at Fort Monroe. Now a captain, Toftoy was assigned to the Pacific Division's mine battery. It was during his time with the mine battery that Toftoy had his first research and development project designing mines that could recognize friendly vessels.

During World War II, Colonel Toftoy was assigned to Army Intelligence in Europe where he worked to acquire German technology. When American troops discovered a V-2 factory, Toftoy was able to secure plans for the rocket and was also instrumental in acquiring the teams of the German scientist who had helped developed the V-2. 
Carr, Timothy. "Major General H.N. Toftoy, USA. Marker." Major General H.N. Toftoy, USA. Marker. 23 Feb. 2010. Web. May 2016 N/A. "Major General Holger N. Toftoy, Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame Inductee 1969, U.S. Army Ordnance Corps." Major General Holger N. Toftoy, Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame Inductee 1969, U.S. Army Ordnance Corps. Web. 05 June 2016. Patterson, Micheal R. "Holger Nelson Toftoy, Major-General, United States Army." Holger Nelson Toftoy, Major-General, United States Army. 2001. Web. 20 May 2016.