Jump to content

36thIDAlex

Members
  • Content Count

    509
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by 36thIDAlex

  1. It's probably not an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, but a New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal (same ribbon)

    Thanks for the tip! I was actually having trouble finding what it was as all I could come up with was the AF award. Makes sense seeing as he lived his whole life in NJ. That rack is a later one he had made up and it is copied onto the button-sort of thing he wore to reunions. The rack on the jumper is wartime production.
  2. The chin strap is also incorrect. Should be black for the CPO. 
     
    I find myself drooling over the boatswains pipe and lanyard!

    Thanks for the comment! Yeah the grouping only came with his CPO hat device so I’m just using that one as a temporary display until I can find an original. The pipe is definitely one of my favorite parts! Best part is it still works too!
  3. I figured id show some of the photos as well, although there are sadly way too many to post here I wish I could! There’s a lot of great subject matter

    Home from boot camp
    5f4b7c256cda34f40d78ee94e0e3d538.jpeg

    76d7d1e48fe9feaf2426fb7f58f887a2.jpeg

    9b4b9cbf89afd5f222480fe806caea46.jpeg

    48b20a679233a40e21887d7a81732ae8.jpeg

    d2c16331959b6b89c06d7632f78659fc.jpeg

    Swimming call
    32679f1d2deb1c98c8ef6ebb47a596e5.jpeg

    From crossing the equator, the stars and stripes was replaced for the day
    1ce2b9c680f6dbe6961f2655c1496ddf.jpeg

    d7eb82e9368f5c4ea0987b4ce8e87ebd.jpeg

    d0db48883295b5f75eaa67728b59cf41.jpeg

    39ca8a850463377a34f22991cb5ce697.jpeg

    8702916bc8df2cf4f75d2487ba0ba414.jpeg

    d26117312f975f7525d619b2a956aba8.jpeg

    72bd93421fc1a52c3fcde5ecc1d81c9f.jpeg

    While crossing in 1941, the gentleman on the left, Billie Joe White, had his Manila hemp dress set on fire by a cigarette. The hemp is stored in partial oil and sadly he died of his burns before they could save him. It was a real tragedy on such a fun day.
    0449206cc93389d4541d99797e7f8532.jpeg

    35332f980f2cce7fda76700252be4a25.jpeg

  4. Hey everyone! This group has been a work in process but has turned out to be one of my favorite Navy groupings by far with an awesome story behind it. While I have tried to shift more towards army infantry, I could not pass up such a phenomenal group from my hometown’s namesake ship, the USS Louisville CA-28. The read is lengthy but full of some awesome details John wrote down in his autobiography. Feel free to read, although a summary of the items in the group and photos are at the bottom.

     

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    Born the second oldest of five siblings, John Francis Duffy grew up amongst the suburban bustle of 1930s Palisades Park, New Jersey. The son of Irish and Russian immigrants, Duffy grew up in a fairly troubled household despite the bonding which he intensely enjoyed amongst his siblings. His father served in the U.S. Navy during the first world war and came home to take up the trade of his family over in Ireland, bricklaying. The job itself was pretty grueling as he worked alongside other Irishmen to complete the many overwhelming building projects undertaken by the city at that time. He was a hearty man with his work-buddies, often going out for drinks and buying everybody rounds despite his inability to afford it. When he came home, however, his heavy drinking addiction turned into a sullen lump of pain which John and his family suffered for many years. Whether it was the intense emotional neglect shown to John and his siblings or the verbal abuse faced by his mother, family life was far from perfect, and more than once did John have to stand between his mother and the gun his father was pointing at her. The oldest son, John was expected and utilized for any task his father did not want to do, meaning he missed out on the fun parts of being a kid and spent much of his time holding the flashlight as his dad tinkered with cars in the brutal New Jersey winter or repairing a fence line as his father silently smoked and watched onward. In any case, John makes it clear that life was rough in those early years and it was only the love of his mother and compassion of his siblings which got him through.

     

    One day near the completion of high school, John’s father raised a hammer as if to hit him out of some petty anger. Rather than run as he usually did, John stood there and stared into his father’s eyes until he backed down and turned away. his mother pulled him aside and asked him what he truly wanted to do with his life. John, long-suffering under the watch of his father, really had no idea except that he wanted to be away. It was then that his mother suggested he possibly join the U.S. Navy. While John had never considered leaving home he was not opposed to the notion and thus quit school to enlist soon after his 18th birthday. On December 12th, 1940, he took the oath down at the local courthouse and soon made his way with the other enlistees to the Naval training station at Newport.

     

    As part of Company 90, the experience of John and his 71 fellow classmates was fairly typical. Led by career Navy CPOs, their six weeks went by fast and John was able to make many friends amongst his peers. Unlike the wartime Navy, most of the men would end up staying together and in February of 1940 were assigned to the Northampton-class heavy cruiser, USS LOUISVILLE CA-28. The LOUISVILLE had been around for several years by the time John came aboard, being commissioned in 1931 as a naval modernization project. Despite weighing 10,000 tons, over 600’ long, and sporting four primary 8” guns, the LOUISVILLE was only manned by a crew of about 400 and spent most of her early days up and down the eastern coast Americas, making port in Norfolk, Guantanamo Bay, the Panama Canal, and many other smaller ports. Before long, the ship reached California, stopping briefly in San Diego before she made her way to her new home at Pearl Harbor.

     

    For around 7-8 months the crew of the LOUISVILLE spent their days drilling, equipping, and preparing the ship for any potential future action. It was around this time that the many 30mm and 40mm AA guns were installed across the ship and the crew slowly grew larger and larger. John’s jobs varied greatly during this period, from mess cook to Helmsman to deck watchman, and learned a lot about the ins and outs of ship life. In November the ship set sail to check on several bases in the South Pacific around Manila, Tarakan, and Borneo. While pulling out of Borneo to head back to Pearl, however, the terrible news reached the vessel. At one point, they even heard radio chatter from panicked Navy personnel that the LOUISVILLE itself had been sunk, which must have surely been a surprise to John and his pals onboard! Going into radio silence and painting the top deck entirely with blue paint, the ship slowly made its way back home, finally pulling into the devastation on December 16th, 1941. The entire crew stood silent on the deck staring at the dozens of sinking, burning, and tilted vessels scattering the harbor. Not long after they loaded hundreds of survivors from the attack, including Al Brick, the famous cameraman who caught the attack on film, and took them back to San Francisco.

     

    Replenished with men and refitted with supplies, the eager men onboard the LOUISVILLE found themselves finally on their way to war. Joining Task Force 17, they helped protect several troopships returning from Samoa before finally getting a crack at the Japanese during the first assault on the Marshall and Gilbert Islands. Around this time the Louisville swelled to hold over 1,400 sailors so that all guns could be manned at all hours of the day. It was at this time that John received a new battle position as primary “trainer” for the #1 8” turret, meaning he was in charge of rotating the gun right and left during battle. When “on target,” both the trainer and the turner have separate triggers which must be pulled simultaneously to fire the gun. For their critical role, trainers were given an extra $6 per month, and John enjoyed this job for the next four years of service until he left the ship in April of 1945.

     

    In March of 1942, following successful operations with TF 17, John and the crew were paired up with Task Force 11 alongside the USS LEXINGTON where they attacked Japanese-held Salamua, Lae, New Guinea, and Rabaul. For each of these assaults, John manned his position at turret #1 and was directly responsible for sending thousands of pounds of ordnance into the Japanese positions. After, the ship went back to San Francisco where it was outfitted with even more AA guns and the crew enjoyed their first 20-day leave. John took advantage of the time off to travel back home, seeing his family for the first time in almost two years. It was actually on this trip that he and his cousin went to see Frank Sinatra who was performing at the Waldorf Astoria. After dinner, they waited three hours and grew tired waiting for the concert as John had to leave the next day. Walking out frustrated, they actually bumped into Sinatra walking inside, said hello, and headed back home.

     

    The LOUISVILLE stayed stateside for several more months after John returned aboard, mostly improving systems onboard and prepping for any possible action. The action came soon enough, and in June they joined the rushing Navy fleet to stop the Japanese invasion of Alaska. Heavy clothing was issued to each man as the ship pulled out of the yard and for several days no one knew the destination until the wire came in that Japanese troops had officially landed on Attu and Kiska islands. On August 7th, the LOUISVILLE officially reached the islands and bombarded the Japanese troops on Kiska. The next few weeks saw the ship based out of Kodiak running convoy protection duty against Japanese encroachment in the north. While the men enjoyed regular liberty visits to the city, the lousy weather kept spirits a bit down and the men were very happy to leave after four months of back and forth duty in the frozen north.

     

    By the beginning of 1943, the ship was once again performing operations in the South Pacific as a replacement for her sister ship, the USS Northampton, which was lost at the Battle of Tassafaronga. Here the LOUISVILLE got its taste of real Naval combat, being attacked by Japanese bombers and torpedo planes around Guadalcanal and the New Hebrides. One dark evening off the coast of Rennell Island, the LOUISVILLE sat alongside the USS CHICAGO steaming along through the night. Despite no radar warnings and reports of no surface activity, the CHICAGO’s guns began to ring out. John was manning his spot at the turret when out of the black came a Japanese torpedo bomber roaring overhead. A few moments after he turned his head to witness a huge explosion erupt from the USS Chicago and then a large thud as a dud torpedo slammed into the side of the LOUISVILLE. The men could do nothing but sit and watch as the CHICAGO burned. Eventually receiving orders to take her under tow, the crew made their way towards the tug USS NAVAJO who transferred survivors from the CHICAGO onboard and took the damaged ship in tow. Now relieved of the vessel, the LOUISVILLE made way to New Zealand but got the call several hours later that the CHICAGO had been sunk after a second attack by Japanese dive bombers.

     

    The LOUISVILLE underwent repairs for a few weeks while in New Zealand. While the ship was busy at the dock in Wellington, many of the sailors were permitted to go on extended liberty and enjoy the country. John and several of his buddies managed to hop a ride in the back of a truck and made their way into the mainland before stopping in the small town of Palmerston North. Spending the days as a guest of a local couple, John enjoyed the taste of some real food, mainly “stayke-n-aygs,” and explored the area. The men had a grand time and the New Zealanders loved seeing these US Navy boys so far from home. Eventually, they had to ship out and returned to Pearl in April of 1943. The stay at Pearl was short, as the Japanese once again made a run at the Aleutians and the LOUISVILLE was once again sent into the briny cold. John missed most of the action (which wasn't much), however, as he came down with Scarlet Fever on the way there and spent several weeks in a hospital in Kodiak. Once he came back onboard he was present for the intriguing battle of the Pips and several weeks of rough convoy duty before returning to San Francisco for overhauls which granted him a 24 day leave back home.

     

    In January of 1944, the LOUISVILLE was ready to leave Mare Island and report back to the South Pacific. It was at this time that Captain Sam Hurt relieved Captain Worhterspoon and the ship now became the flagship of Admiral J. B. Oldendorf. Oldendorf was a well-seasoned soldier and took over command of the Navy’s amphibious bombardments for operations in the Pacific Theater and would now use the “Lady Lou” as his command center. This tour would mark a new era in the war for the LOUISVILLE, beginning with the great offensive on the Marshall Islands. From Wotje to Roi and Namur to Kwajalein, the LOUISVILLE’s guns roared across the Marshall’s with devastating results. At Eniwetok, the ship took the lead position, and John, stationed at his spot in turret #1, was one of the very first Americans to fire on the island. In March the ship joined Task Force 58 for the assaults on the Palau Islands and oversaw fire support in April for Hollandia, New Guinea, Truk, and Sawatan islands. May was a bit of a slow period, however, it was around this time that John was invited to join the boxing team aboard ship. It was an opportunity he was happy to take advantage of, though mostly for the extra rations of meat rather than a love of the sport.

     

    The next month began full-scale operations in the Marianas and once again the LOUISVILLE took charge leading the bombardment groups at Saipan and Tinian. John describes how they were “always first” to arrive on the scene, usually several days before the first troopships ever arrived. Oldendorf spent the time calculating the best possible bombardments. At Saipan, he even had the LOUISVILLE break a record for most time on the firing line—11 days straight, day and night, with only a break to replenish ammo. The bombardment was not always random, however, as John recalls adjusting to specific coordinates called in by the ground troops desiring support. At one point the ship drifted too close to the shore, and Japanese shells began to fly back right at them, especially terrifying John who was on the top deck trying to raise the anchor when the shooting began.

     

    As the months progressed the campaigns continued and the men of the LOUISVILLE spent their days bombarding all numbers of tiny islands around the Pacific. The operation at Peleliu was particularly effective according to John and played a major role in supporting the Marine forces ashore. At this point, it had been about 9 months since their last liberty, and lots of the men were getting antsy. John recalls a particular group of Alabama sailors beginning to make moonshine in the forward hold out of malt and potatoes, however, the drinks didn’t hold up so well and two men ended up passing out in a small emergency ladder shoot meaning John had to come help before the CPO found them out.

     

    The long-awaited invasion of the Philippines began in October of 1944, and on the 17th, the LOUISVILLE once again led the way. Every man on board was constantly busy, and according to John, became so busy that even the boxing tournaments were canceled until further notice! It was a constant state of emergency and the call to battle stations came randomly and often. No one could rest. Their first stop was around Leyte, where Admirals Halsey and Oldendorf sought to make a final stand against the large remnant of the Japanese fleet. It was at Surigao Strait that this great battle would occur. Oldendorf was put in charge of the operation and as such the LOUISVILLE played a critical role. Sending PT boats out early in the evening to draw in the Japanese fleet to the narrow strait, before long night had fallen and the Japanese forces slowly chugged right into the US trap. Forming an ‘L’ shape at the end of the strait, the LOUISVILLE sat alongside US cruisers, destroyers, battleships, and many more all waiting for the first sight of Japanese forces. When the first was spotted, the massive battery opened fire and before long the water had turned into a gravy and of burning hulks, oily masses, and surviving sailors scattered amidst the floating wreckage. Supposedly, the LOUISVILLE fired more rounds than all the battleships present put together, and in the aftermath was responsible for gathering several floating Japanese prisoners, including a high ranking officer who was thoroughly interrogated. Needless to say, John was incredibly exhausted from the fighting and I’m sure grew mighty tired of that chair in the first turret. The battle of Surigao Strait was the last of its kind, meaning no other naval engagements since have included the face-to-face action of battleships on battleships.

     

    The celebration of the major victory at Surigao did not last long as the American forces pressed onward. November saw John and the LOUISVILLE participate in several strikes against Manila and the surrounding areas. One day, while sitting in the trainer booth of the turret when an enemy aircraft was sighted very high up and under fire by all the ships of the fleet. There was so much flak that the plane quickly went out of sight. John put a finger to his mouth, signaling quiet, as he slowly opened the door and made his way outside to see what was going on. He was only three steps out of the door when he suddenly froze in his tracks. A loud whistling sound was screeching right from above and as he looked up he caught the last second before the plane once so high above came diving down, just missing the bridge, and slamming into the water beside them. The concussion knocked John back into the side of the turret and water doused his entire back. Sliding his knees to get under the corner of the turret, a few seconds went by before a turretmate cried “Duffy’s gone!” “No, I’m not,” he shouted in response, and he scampered in shaking like a leaf thinking his back was wet with blood. John sat on the floor and counted his fingers as he begged his mate to check how much blood was on his back. He did not appreciate the response which was a big hearty laugh and reassurance that he was only simply doused in water. This was his first encounter with the infamous Kamikaze pilots, but little did he know that the worst was yet to come.

     

    At this point in the LOUISVILLE’s service, the crew was all pretty well-seasoned and promotions were handed out to replace the higher-ranking men who had transferred to fill out newer ships. John was promoted to Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class and was put in charge of the 60 men composing the 1st Division. Not only did his pay improve, but his bedding as well, receiving a private bunk inside the gear locker which shared a wall with the admiral’s quarters. In December the Admiral was replaced by Admiral Ted E. Chandler as commander of Cruiser Division 4, yet within a month Chandler would be dead and the ship’s captain would be badly burned.

     

    On January 5th, 1945 the LOUISVILLE was en route to Lingayen Gulf on Luzon. The task force was fairly large and every gun was manned. John was standing right above his turret watching the first ships to fire when he heard the cry of “here they come!” from a man above him. Looking where he was pointing, John’s eyes fixed on three Japanese planes flying low on the waterline about a quarter-mile ahead. Two planes veered off for other ships but one headed straight for the Lady Lou. As the bow guns opened fire John rushed down the stairs, flew down a ladder, and dove into the Boatswain’s Mate station. Two seconds later the Kamikaze crashed right into Turret 2, about forty feet from where he had been standing. The ship shuddered from the impact and Captain Hicks ended up badly burned. One man was dead and 52 others were wounded. While they had come under fire before, this was the first real hit on the ship and it was a blessing that turret two had not been manned at the time, however, it was now thoroughly out of action. Pieces of the Japanese pilot were collected, photographed, then thrown overboard.

     

    The next day, January 6th, the LOUISVILLE was leading the way into the Lingayen where they expected to be attacked once more. Still out of range for the 8” guns, John and his crew were sent to the rear turret door and down to the shell deck for safekeeping. Safety was short-lived and not long after the AA guns rang out, another tremendous shake rocked the boat. This time, John would not sit idly by. As soon as the hit occurred he shouted out to 60 1st division sailors “We’re hit, let's go men!” John was the first man out the door, followed swiftly by Lt. Commander Foster and Lt. Hastin, the division officers. The starboard side was a raging inferno from the forecastle deck down and a badly charred, naked body was lying about ten feet from the turret with the top of his head missing. It was the kamikaze pilot and he had made a direct hit on the communications deck. As men poured out of the turret from behind John they stood in shock. Explosions continued blasting from the ammo lockers and fire was upon the comms deck as well where screaming sailors begged for help. John jumped into action, assigning men to the many fires across the deck. Although much of the structure was destroyed, John ordered several men to scale the bulkhead and aid the badly burned victims standing at the edge of the railing like zombies. All of these orders were given only a few seconds apart and by then all the men of the division were running to act. The only thing interfering with the work was the burned remains of the Japanese pilot. Calling over to another sailor to grab the legs, John put his hands under the corpse’s arms and lifted. When he did this the head rolled back and a large dripping goop of brain and flesh fell out in one piece at his feet. John motioned to the sailor and they quickly threw the body over the side before John stooped down, picked up the mass of brain matter, and chucked it over the side. To the men who had not been assigned a task, he shouted to grab some mops. This entire time as John oversaw the rescue and repair operations in the wake of the disastrous Kamikaze attack, the division officers stood and watched, eventually putting John in for the Navy Individual Commendation which he would be awarded for his outstanding leadership in action.

     

    The damage from the second attack was severe, 32 men had been killed including Admiral Chandler and another 150 lay heavily wounded, among them Captain Hicks. The ship quickly made its way to the rear, then Pearl, and finally San Francisco where all survivors aboard were allowed to transfer for permanent shore duty. While John did not request this, instead just taking a 24 day leave, and returning to find himself promoted to Chief Boatswain’s Mate. Sadly, most of the crew he had known and loved had left the vessel and he decided that his time on the now “Lucky Lou” was finished. He officially left the ship on April 26th, 1945, and transferred to command of Navy tugboat USS ORONO YTB-190. Onboard he served with several other seasoned veterans who had been given the chance to return home for easy duty. The job was pretty simple, sailing up and down the west coast performing maintenance duties.

     

    After the war John was well-slated for discharge and received his in 1946, returning home to marry his long-time sweetheart and settling down in his hometown of Palisades Park. His love for the sea did not disappear, however, and he spent the next several decades commanding civilian tugboats, ferries, and sightseeing ships up and down the New York waters. He also picked up a hobby of tinkering with and repairing old player pianos, a fascination which turned into a legitimate business where the name Duffy became nationally renowned for his skilled work on the machines, producing several albums of player music and featuring in many major music magazines. His final job was that of a docking pilot, guiding over 2,300 ships into the New York harbor before retiring to a loving wife and many grandkids.

     

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    To say I am in love with this grouping is to say the least. While many of you may know my absolute joy in preserving the history of my state, I never expected to find such a complete and substantial grouping from my hometown’s namesake vessel. I remember walking downtown and seeing the ship’s bell so many times when I was little. Now I am more than proud to keep the memory of the USS LOUISVILLE and CBM John Duffy alive through the many artifacts and documents he left behind. This will be a group I long enjoy and I hope you all have enjoyed reading about the many exploits this veteran cruiser oversaw. By the end of his tour, John had earned a whopping 13 battle stars on his Pacific Theater ribbon (he seemed to think the silver star meant 10 and not 5), two on a Philippine Liberation Ribbon, an American Defense ribbon with a star, and of course, his Individual Navy Commendation for saving the many lives of his crewmates in the wake of the brutal kamikaze attack. John brought home many souvenirs from his service which I have listed below and shown in the photographs. The one piece which is no longer with the group is actually a large chunk from the wing of the kamikaze plane which he ended up returning to Japan when the family of the kamikaze pilot contacted him in the 1990s.

     

    Included in the grouping:

    -Two enlisted jumpers and pants

    -CBM tunic and tie

    -A full set of wartime and immediately postwar production miniature medals

    -His original boatswain’s whistle used throughout his time onboard the LOUISVILLE

    -A set of dog tags

    -CBM hat device

    -Several discharge pins

    -Many buttons

    -Several Navy ID cards

    -Laundry stencils

    -An early copy of the Navy chapters from John’s personal memoirs “The Wonderful Life of John Duffy”

    -Various cards from jobs he held while on liberty and immediately after the war

    -A large collection of Japanese money brought home from Saipan

    -A massive photo album documenting his time from boot camp to retirement. There are over 350 photographs including many incredible one-of-a-kind shots he bought from the shipboard photographer throughout his time onboard. There are also several Japanese photos. Topics included in the album are boot camp, journeys home, San Francisco, Hawaii, shipboard life, many crew photos, shipboard medical surgeries, the boxing club, a lot from John’s initial shellback ceremony on the LOUISVILLE, Kodiak, time on YTB-190, retirement, Kamikaze damage, Japanese POWs, and many more.

    -Two veteran hats

    -Probably other things I forgot

     

    6c3d520595fa06def43c20c35fa55bdc.jpeg

     

    47d7a9d0c56b2dc6c9f0bf9f2ca4d101.jpeg

     

    d255031ddab410d893bfcbe334d5752b.jpeg

     

    99c0011a2da6495352066f13a3011957.jpeg

     

    500ea96629824f934314784f3f4ff047.jpeg

     

    7cfeac045a1b29a66d50c11594d054c8.jpeg

     

    873032500a5a6d0e84e97f8e187379f8.jpeg

     

    7eebcd2ec97026cc741a94639e025a84.jpeg

     

    b4957504b5e64edbd33b1358d32e955e.jpeg

    6fe2d13fe4147fefce6ffe346fbb1140.jpeg

     

    ae60a95def56075621e9279b4466eb0e.jpeg

     

    0e8f9abfff76bf95fe68428bc4188a1e.jpeg

     

    f06d991e7e552c071d03a77392b654a0.jpeg

     

    ea17a77011986dc17bd4ed6459f62920.jpeg

    If you look closely, you can see he engraved his name on the pipe with a knife

  5. A bit of an update today with my first apartment display

    It’s been a month and a half since I moved into my first off-campus apartment for school. I brought a few things with me but had several larger purchases in line which all seemed to come in after I had already moved in. Regardless, very glad to have a roommate who has no desire for interior decorating and pretty much let me do what I want.

    2fad66adb6c1f155f281601cb1a07793.jpeg

    1773c9b836d4eb20eaac2d813d6de7e8.jpeg

    f30bf4e38e1a81945d2c46d58b81e587.jpeg

    88c25dd6a1e03f1ee4deee405284f83e.jpeg

    237190fa8e51f93c7d7cbab2a271f268.jpeg

    9f815008c35bb415cd3dc48d369a79f1.jpeg

    ebf0f6eedd664f212057960ee0eb04b1.jpg

  6. Meant to post this in uniforms, if the moderators want to remove the post in latest finds feel free.

     

    Carmine Landato was born to two Italian immigrants who had only arrived in New York City less than a decade before. Raised in the bustle of Brooklyn’s Italian district with working class parents, Landato was no stranger to hardship. After doing odd jobs to help the family during high school, he got a full time position with a laundromat. The job was uninspiring, however, and Carmine decided to pursue a career in the armed forces, enlisting in 1940. Selected to train as a medic, he moved to Camp Upton, NY where before long he and others were selected to reform the 9th Medical Battalion and join the mobilizing 9th Infantry Division.

     

    Upon the outbreak of war, Carmine and the 9th became some of the first GIs to engage in offensive operations. Landing at Algeria in November of 1942, Carmine began a long trek through the European theater which saw him patching up injured Americans from North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, Belgium, and in the final push through Germany. The battalion got its first taste of action under the hot desert sun, operating on 9th ID casualties while freeing French North Africa and holding off Rommel’s forces in Tunisia. Not long after, he and the battalion were part of the invading force securing Sicily from German control before receiving moving orders to begin further training in England. The battalion underwent more intensive field operation procedures in preparation for the invasion of the mainland which eventually came on D+4 in the sands of Utah Beach.

     

    From here, Carmine and the medics of the 9th began the long-winded drive to Germany. Conquering Cherbourg, St. Lo, and the Falaise, the well-experienced division began receiving its first large batches of replacements. Carmine, a seasoned vet, would see more and more young faces undergoing treatment as the division pushed further into Europe. The Bulge was a very rough time for the medical personnel, with low supplies and lots of casualties along their defensive line from Kalterherberg to the infamous Elsenborn. Nevertheless, the medics worked tirelessly, keeping the division in fighting shape.

     

    The final push into Germany went a lot faster and the combat, while still tough, was more progressive than before. Aid stations moved more often, casualties came from many areas, in all, it was a very mobile time for the battalion. While I was never able to confirm his participation directly, the 9th Medical was likely involved in the treatment of prisoners liberated from the concentration camp at Nordhausen which the 9th ID helped to liberate. I can only imagine Carmine’s thoughts seeing the atrocities after all the bloods and gore he’d experienced the prior three years. Eventually, the drive continued and the division ended the war reliving the 3rd Armor along the Mulde River.

     

    As a medic in the 9th, Carmine saw more action than most and likely more mangled bodies than civilian doctors see in a lifetime. His role as a medic in the designated division battalion ensured he was always close to the frontlines either alongside the troops or right behind them at an aid station, ready to get them back in the fight. From Morocco to Germany they were always in the front and earned a reputation for excellence under pressure, earning them the unit citation you see on his sleeve.

     

    When the war finally came to a close he did not have to wait long to come home. The US marked the 8th country visited throughout his five year tour of duty. He settled down, married, had some children, and spent the rest of his days amongst friends and family in Brooklyn until passing last fall. Sadly I was never able to meet Carmine, but his story will live on through his service uniform and will not be forgotten.

     

    The uniform itself was found in his apartment while clearing it after his death, two stars have fallen off the uniform but left clear indentions on the ribbon, meaning Carmine did see service in all 8 of the 9th IDs campaigns. The DIs are in great shape, I believe they are US made screwbacks but there are unfortunately no maker markings on them. Sadly, most of the paperwork was thrown out by the unknowing estate workers but one photo ID was saved, giving me the photo I have on the information card. The card itself is from later time in the Civil Defense Administration where it seems he continued using his medical skills in the postwar period. In all, a very great piece from a well-seasoned division. I personally knew a 9th ID engineer who served through all their campaigns as well, but he passed this summer. From hearing his stories I learned to especially respect the men of the 9th and am now proud to have this great uniform representing the division in my collection.

     

    53c9e30236fedd75a8fe36cea44ab7e9.jpeg

     

    6d65574435db250b0bd2b094f2334f10.jpeg

     

     

    256e4c159c62e1aec16f2f0533d18d89.jpeg

     

    455cabca968e2fcfb6f69df018ce86ef.jpeg

     

    5908b44cc5abba65676d9a31e8c16a9e.jpeg

     

    477d716be71221210388a86c622f7a0e.jpeg

     

    8bf683f3ab9d0b248ce2f2409082cb2c.jpeg

     

    6df7fe2beb833542751885db4bf70e0f.jpeg

     

    479cd16f97ab6d2f7fe1bca43add728a.jpeg

     

    7a17512b71dc5d5d25ae0908acccedc6.jpeg

     

    50e5e48f06c4f1cc84fe4e4414c05eec.jpeg

  7. Carmine Landato was born to two Italian immigrants who had only arrived in New York City less than a decade before. Raised in the bustle of Brooklyn’s Italian district with working class parents, Landato was no stranger to hardship. After doing odd jobs to help the family during high school, he got a full time position with a laundromat. The job was uninspiring, however, and Carmine decided to pursue a career in the armed forces, enlisting in 1940. Selected to train as a medic, he moved to Camp Upton, NY where before long he and others were selected to reform the 9th Medical Battalion and join the mobilizing 9th Infantry Division.

     

    Upon the outbreak of war, Carmine and the 9th became some of the first GIs to engage in offensive operations. Landing at Algeria in November of 1942, Carmine began a long trek through the European theater which saw him patching up injured Americans from North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, Belgium, and in the final push through Germany. The battalion got its first taste of action under the hot desert sun, operating on 9th ID casualties while freeing French North Africa and holding off Rommel’s forces in Tunisia. Not long after, he and the battalion were part of the invading force securing Sicily from German control before receiving moving orders to begin further training in England. The battalion underwent more intensive field operation procedures in preparation for the invasion of the mainland which eventually came on D+4 in the sands of Utah Beach.

     

    From here, Carmine and the medics of the 9th began the long-winded drive to Germany. Conquering Cherbourg, St. Lo, and the Falaise, the well-experienced division began receiving its first large batches of replacements. Carmine, a seasoned vet, would see more and more young faces undergoing treatment as the division pushed further into Europe. The Bulge was a very rough time for the medical personnel, with low supplies and lots of casualties along their defensive line from Kalterherberg to the infamous Elsenborn. Nevertheless, the medics worked tirelessly, keeping the division in fighting shape.

     

    The final push into Germany went a lot faster and the combat, while still tough, was more progressive than before. Aid stations moved more often, casualties came from many areas, in all, it was a very mobile time for the battalion. While I was never able to confirm his participation directly, the 9th Medical was likely involved in the treatment of prisoners liberated from the concentration camp at Nordhausen which the 9th ID helped to liberate. I can only imagine Carmine’s thoughts seeing the atrocities after all the bloods and gore he’d experienced the prior three years. Eventually, the drive continued and the division ended the war reliving the 3rd Armor along the Mulde River.

     

    As a medic in the 9th, Carmine saw more action than most and likely more mangled bodies than civilian doctors see in a lifetime. His role as a medic in the designated division battalion ensured he was always close to the frontlines either alongside the troops or right behind them at an aid station, ready to get them back in the fight. From Morocco to Germany they were always in the front and earned a reputation for excellence under pressure, earning them the unit citation you see on his sleeve.

     

    When the war finally came to a close he did not have to wait long to come home. The US marked the 8th country visited throughout his five year tour of duty. He settled down, married, had some children, and spent the rest of his days amongst friends and family in Brooklyn until passing last fall. Sadly I was never able to meet Carmine, but his story will live on through his service uniform and will not be forgotten.

     

    The uniform itself was found in his apartment while clearing it after his death, two stars have fallen off the uniform but left clear indentions on the ribbon, meaning Carmine did see service in all 8 of the 9th IDs campaigns. The DIs are in great shape, I believe they are US made screwbacks but there are unfortunately no maker markings on them. Sadly, most of the paperwork was thrown out by the unknowing estate workers but one photo ID was saved, giving me the photo I have on the information card. In all, a very great piece from a well-seasoned division. I personally knew a 9th ID engineer who served through all their campaigns as well, but he passed this summer. From hearing his stories I learned to especially respect the men of the 9th and am now proud to have this great uniform representing the division in my collection.

     

    156958af41351d55baf0ca148247dbed.jpeg

     

    bd4df8729c761326c00bbd27d0fcde16.jpeg

     

    e51022fdbef8322d30267822662bed0c.jpg

     

    a23e8319f085a93dba1aee66ecc56f7b.jpeg

     

    b8e2dde398a1efd87134292f2a94be08.jpeg

     

     

    66b79359621b061665d34490988b3199.jpeg

     

    3345b2658b47019db11ffbe51d5b1ef0.jpeg

     

    51fb61af34359e6e911bba5fb295c967.jpeg

     

    74ab898100c20bdfccaffa2677ea799a.jpeg

     

    c88efd85cafe981cd1141580fc046d39.jpeg

  8. Hey all! 

     

    So today myself and a fellow librarian agreed to begin a small personal project which I think might be useful for the community. My university contains a free inter-library loan program which allows us to request almost anything from almost any instutiton across the country, includign many military and government libraries. We thought it might be a good idea to find what all books, unit histories, or reports might be available contain full or partial rosters for units involved in the war.

     

    We were thinking like division level but I know some regiments published their own books which contained rosters as well. What we are hoping to do is request as many of these as we can in hopes of scanning and publishing the lists somewhere online so that researchers, collectors, and historians can get some decent access to ones that are available. I know there are a few sites out there but I know they are works in progress as well and some seem to fall off at times. 

     

    My question for the folks on here, is what books you might know that contain lists like these? Sometimes they are full rosters, other times lists of medal recipients, occasionally it might be a list of organization members. Anything that might help us start putting together units lists is what we would hope for and any help or suggestions is appreciated!

     

    Best,

    Alex

     

     

  9. Today we have a really nice uniform group from a pretty hard to find infantry division.

     

    Robert Lloyd Dresser was born to a musical and rather classy family in Akron, Ohio. His father, Clarence Dresser, served in Italy as a member of the 332nd regimental band of the 83rd Division during the great war and returned home to become a trumpet player for the Vaudeville shows in the city. A year after his parent’s marriage Robert was born and as the depression hit, his status as a single child became certain. While his early years were full of music, learning to play many instruments from his father, he began to see less and less of him as the economic crash hit his family. Now working in one of Akron’s many growing rubber factories, Robert watched his once lively and entertaining father slog his way through a long factory job in order to make ends meet.

     

    As he grew older Robert became a bit of a quiet and studious person. Performing very well academically, his first job came during high school as a bookkeeper and librarian at the Akron Public Library. The job did not last long, however, as he received his draft notice in 1942 and soon shipped off to Camp Blanding, Florida where he did his basic and joined the first soldiers of the newly reformed 66th Infantry Division. With his library experience, Dresser trained as a rifleman first but became a clerk and staff for the regimental headquarters of the 262nd Infantry Regiment. He followed the division around the United States for several years until the day finally came for all members to begin the trek overseas.

     

    Arriving in England in November of 1944, the 66th was planned to become a replacement division for the many troops who had been engaged since D-Day. On Christmas eve the division loaded onto two transport ships, the S.S. Leopoldville and Cheshire, and made their way to the French shore. Dresser, along with regimental headquarters and the first battalion of the 262nd, resided on the Cheshire while the rest joined the 264th on the Leopoldville. 5 miles out from Cherbourg, Dresser and the men of the Cheshire awoke to loud clamor and explosions coming outside their ship. Rushing to the deck, they saw the burning and slowly sinking Leopoldville churling over in the channel, the result of a German U-Boat torpedo which met the hull. Taking on what survivors they could, Dresser and the rest were forced to leave behind thousands of GIs before making a second trip back to the slowly sinking ship. In all, almost 800 soldiers died in the attack, many from Dresser’s own unit.

     

    Now soundly on the mainland, the 66th received what would become its defining role during the war. Replacing the 94th ID in northern France, they were assigned to begin operations to crush the German stronghold around Lorient, St. Nazaire, Royan, and La Rochelle. These important ports were home to many German naval facilities including several U-Boat pens. As the allies pushed further during the invasion, however, the nearly 100,00 German troops guarding these coastal facilities were left surrounded and isolated, held in place by changing Free French, US, and British forces. When Dresser and the 66th arrived in the winter of 44-45, the allies finally decided to strike back and close the pocket in retaliation for the offensive in the Bulge. Now holding a 112 mile front, the “Panthers” sent patrols day and night along the line to slowly but surely eliminate strongholds of enemy resistance. Despite lacking reinforcements and the type of support enjoyed by the main army, the Germsn fought back hard and gave the 66th a hell of a fight. The combat continued for several months but really began to lighten up by March and April. ON V-E Day, the German officers of the final, now miniscule, pocket, met commanders of the 66th and Free French forces in St. Nazaire to announce their formal surrender.

     

    During the period of combat, Dresser served primarily in his role as staff for the 262nd regiment. While he had his share of artillery bombardments, patrols, and close calls, he was luckily able to keep a pretty low profile by overseeing the strategic operations for the regiment. As they had arrived so late, Dresser and many of the Panthers had to serve their time of occupation duty from France to Austria. Eventually he was granted return home where he married and settled down, spending many years as a purchaser and inspector for the Wadsworth Sash and Door Company but never forgetting his time overseas as a Panther.

     

    In all, a really cool uniform from a pretty hard to find division. I really had no idea what the 66th did before researching this uniform but they had a very interesting story, which makes sense why they were only awarded a single campaign star for Northern France. I haven't been able to find many photo examples of 66th uniforms with DUIs and most of them I do find tend to only use the divisional ones. It was hard to find a photo of the 262nd DUI as I believe they didn't get official pins until after the war, which may explain the common use of divisional insignia. The ribbons are all plastic covered as well. I just wish we could ban size 34 jackets as they never fit on my mannequins.

     

    3c675e42f3b69c6bbf5bee784ab291b8.jpeg

     

     

    4734dcbda946fc5943c1c7599a07513f.jpeg

     

    dcc3ae295c98dbd4ef8d3e113960850f.jpeg

     

    606fc1a77fc131fd1709696e6c796788.jpeg

     

    11400b1d0eff3a6a83c1def84ef4cedb.jpeg

     

    7b998330a0cb2cf3615dcb05e64ab210.jpeg

     

    e2451cd4689df90147a29d674126e846.jpeg

     

    6033ae5be063a331bef0c548ad2742a7.jpeg

     

    3e63ab1cc7c4338cfc02e77548d1ec66.jpeg

     

    395ffb5334af64575173a7a3f2072cd7.jpeg

  10. Here’s a close up of the PT Boater and a link to the group. All came locally from his estate.

    The armor/7th army uniform belonged to an M4A1 (76) Sherman radio operator/assistant driver/MG Gunner of the 782nd Tnk Bn who was heavily wounded after his tank was shot twice by panzerfausts

    0daa25aca227b5c82b5e238fd2ca7902.plist

    c0dc82d581e205d5a1da27de41e7296c.plist

    20cf1d246ea2788977c8aff042a33dd2.jpg


    e206a1981266625353a5aded9193bf46.plist


    Here’s the link to my group of the boater

    https://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/341140-extensive-pt-boat-uniform-grouping-mtb-ron-33-37/

  11. Hey all, I decided to take some family portraits of my uniform collection before I head off to school this year. All pieces are IDd, named, and researched. Most have photos of the veterans as well. Only ones not included are a few pieces of named field and a few named non-WWII uniforms. You might see an infantry theme as I am attempting to collect a named uniform from each infantry division of the European theater.

     

    Enjoy!

     

    a64c9df18a9e60bf6b3389544d1142eb.jpg

     

    e255896b404938f58a9d0b4f58cf9a2d.plist

     

     

     

     

  12. Hey everyone. I recently expanded my 36th ID collection with a neat piece from a pretty hard to find unit. Major El Roy P. Master was a graduate of West Point and fought from Algeria to Germany with the 443rd Anti-Aircraft Battalion (attached to the 36th ID from Salerno onwards), earning a Bronze Star and 9 campaign stars in the process. I've typed a bit of his story below. It’s a lengthy read but honestly a very interesting story from a oft-overlooked AAA unit that had a very distinguished fighting career.

     

    El Roy grew up the son of an auto mechanic in the small industrial town of Robesonia, Pennsylvania. A proud Boy Scout, he was happy with life until his mother passed away while he was still a boy. Saddened by her loss, he began seeking out greater aspirations than his hometown and after graduating high school, received a congressional appointment to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. Part of 4th Company in the class of 1942, El Roy enjoyed his studies and grew excited at the prospect of war on the horizon. In his senior year, his desires came true, and before long El Roy would join as an artillery officer in Uncle Sam’s army.

     

    Immediately following graduation El Roy was sent to Camp Davis, North Carolina where he officially transferred into the Coastal Artillery Corps and began training for anti-aircraft and special artillery battery tactics. Only spending a month or so in the specialized school, the army saw El Roy as a potential candidate to join some of the first forces in Europe. In July of 1942 he moved to D Battery of the newly created 443rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (self-propelled). He proved his worth and prowess to the company commander and after a month of service was promoted to 1st Lieutenant as XO of the company.

     

    The 443rd was a special outfit, specially tasked with using and testing the army’s new T-28-E1 AAA halftracks. With the growing influence of air power in military ground actions, the army hoped to develop an effective and powerful gun that could move under its own power. Based on the M3 half-track chassis, the T28 featured a 37mm M1 anti-aircraft gun and two .50 caliber Brownings on a rotating platform. This was one of the first mobile AAA platforms to be adopted by the army in large numbers and one of the most prominent to be used in the North African theater. El Roy and his company were given T28s in the summer of 1942 and grew proficient enough in their operation that they were tasked with joining General Patton for the invasion of Morocco that November.

     

    After a rough ride to Africa, the 443rd made it to the port of Lyautey in French Morocco alongside the 3rd Infantry Division and got their first taste of combat against the French air forces. El Roy and his men did their job, effectively eliminating all sources of aerial opposition for the American troops. The first kill was even credited to El Roy’s company as they knocked out a French dive bomber while en route to the beach in their landing craft. The American forces knocked out most of the French military defenses and by November 11th, the French had surrendered. The army did not stop there, however, and the 443rd was pushed along to Casablanca to shore up the assault against the city. On the way the unit was pestered by French snipers, planes, and vehicles. Once the city was captured El Roy and his company were sent to join the 9th Infantry Division for defensive duty where they fought off several night bomber raids. The 37mm cannon on their halftracks, however, was able to handle every enemy the battalion came across. The T28 gained a reputation as a successful gun platform and the 443rd, as a well-oiled machine.

     

    As Casablanca and the French territories fell under Allied control, the 443rd regrouped in preparation for the assault in Tunisia. Assigned to the 1st Armored Division, the men began their trek across the blistering African desert and mountains to join the Americans for the defense of southern Tunisia from Rommel’s forces. El Roy’s company specifically was sent to defend the Ousseltia valley where it successfully held off German assaults, saving nearby French and British forces. ME-109s and JU-87s became the enemy of the 443rd, with the Luftwaffe playing endless games against the AAA to attack the nearby allied ground forces. Even so, the 443rd held their own and their position earned the nickname of “The Hornets Nest” to the German pilots. Despite the onslaught, the German attack was eventually halted and the valley held.

     

    A quote from a C Company member summed up the actions well:

     

    “During the day we were constantly on alert for planes and we moved in blackout at night, to new positions. Everyone was worn out but we kept awake. I can still see those planes overhead. We fired and fired. We were scared! There were raids every 20 minutes and we thought the day would never end. They kept this up for days but did little damage as we kept knocking them down. They began to respect our guns and stayed out of range. But those 88 mm shells! The whole crew was really afraid of them. No sooner did we move to new positions than the Germans would start shelling us and we leaped into our foxholes, saying our prayers.”

     

    Throughout the desert campaigns, El Roy and the 443rd men endured many evening sandstorms when the fine sand and grit sifted into eyes, nose, food and clothing, and sand clouds were churned up during all vehicle movements. Gun crews had to constantly clean and grease the 37 mm guns, the .50 cal. machine guns and small arms. Parachute silk was cut and used as neck scarves to try to keep the sand out of clothing. Water was at a premium and baths were a forgotten luxury except for those rare occasions when old Roman baths were discovered, such as those at Constantine and Gafsa. The battalion spent most of its days amongst the 1st Armor shooting down dozens of 109s and Stukas of Rommel’s desert Air Force. Playing crucial roles at Faid and the Kasserine pass, without the 443rd, it is doubtful the 1st Armored could have been as successful against Rommel under constant Luftwaffe firepower.

     

    Proving their mettle under the African sun against Rommel, the 443rd became known as a crack AA unit amongst the American Mediterranean forces. As generals began planning for the invasion of Sicily, El Roy and his men were specially chosen to join the assault forces. After some much needed refit and repair, El Roy and the battalion joined the 3rd Infantry Division for the assault on Sicily. With airfield day priority for the invading infantry, the 443rd was tasked with defending several small airfields from German strafing and bombing attacks, and did so successfully. As the advance continued, the 443rd often followed the attacking troops and got some of the best treatment from the happily liberated Sicilians. After the initial German air power had been dealt with, the campaign was pretty smooth for the AAA men.

     

    While recovering from Sicily, the 443rd got word that they would soon be joining the 36th Infantry Division in the fall of 1943. They had heard of the division’s exploits at Salerno. First seeing action with the unit during the Naples-Foggia campaign, the AAA distinguished themselves for their defense of the division artillery units at Mt Maggiore. With the infantry heavily engaged in the uphill battle, the Germans sent wave after wave of ME-109s, FW-190s, and medium bombers to destroy the 36th artillery pounding their own ground troops. The 443rd refused to let it happen, during nonstop in the face of direct anti-personnel strafing and bombing attacks, shooting down over a dozen German craft and fending off many more to protect the vital artillery. Several men of the battalion were awarded the Silver Star for these actions.

     

    The Italian campaign was spotty for the AAA. Air attacks were much less frequent and intensive as they had been in Africa and the Luftwaffe had primarily been driven to attacking by night due to American air superiority. The 443rd continued supporting the 36th throughout, however, and marched through Rome on the day of its liberation with flowers and wreaths adorning their many half tracks.

     

    Eventually El Roy and the troops made their way to mainland Europe following the establishment of the beachheads in Southern France. It was fighting through the breakout of Dragoon that the 443rd began changing its tactics to adapt to an evolving battlefield. With German air power now fairly limited and both M16 and the original T28 halftracks bolstering the battalion, the troops began training for infantry support tactics. Using new ammo and methods to act as defensive strongpoints or offensive heavy weapons. This new style of thinking saw El Roy and his company closely linked to the various infantry regiments of the 36th in support of major operations throughout France and Germany.

     

    Below is a pretty interesting account of the ground assault tactics in use in the Rhineland and German campaign.

     

    “Their first opportunity came when each of the four line batteries provided a gun section to fire across the Vologne River into German positions in the Bois Boremont while the 143rd Infantry attacked Bruyeres from the south and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team attacked from the forest and hills on the west. The enemy must have been surprised and dismayed when several kilometers of hillside in front of them suddenly belched 37mm and .50 cal. fire at irregular intervals throughout the three days of the attack. Even though the 443rd guns were firing from one flank of the attack the Germans reacted by firing their artillery at the 443rd gun-tracks. In spite of the enemy shells falling around them the 443rd men continued to fire upon call from the Battalion Fire Direction Center, manned by the 443rd Operations Officer and Operations Sergeant. Their fire was of enormous value in supporting the attack. Much SP and artillery fire was diverted from the attacking infantry and enemy observation was greatly hindered by air and tree bursts over German positions. Many of the enemy defenders were so unnerved by the rain of lead that they were still unable to function effectively when the first 143rd infantrymen reached their positions. Since that initial ground support mission, 443rd gunners have fired again and again in support of the 36th Division Infantry.

     

    Battery D’s first platoon fired into Laveline de Bruyeres early one morning and received mortar fire in return. However, they were rewarded by seeing their shells start a fire which increased in intensity and culminated in an explosion just before dawn. The 443rd men, returning from their mission, were bemoaning their bad luck, believing that they had blown up the only distillery in the valley. They were considerably relieved when they later learned that they had blown up an ammunition dump.”

     

    The 443rd men found joy in their new role, despite firing large guns five feet off the ground in a lightly armored vehicle. Firing directly at a target rather than a plane “did something” to the 443rd guys and really upped their attitudes from boring work of firing pot-shots at the 3-5 fighters they saw a week. This work continued up through the drive into Germany. Occasionally a fighter would be shot down, including a few ME262s on occasion, but their major role was supporting the division infantry for the final push.

     

    At the conclusion of the war the 443rd found its much needed relief. In near constant action for over 3 years, El Roy and his men enjoyed their time in Munich before heading back home. During their time in France and Germany El Roy had been promoted to Captain and received the Bronze Star medal for his valiant efforts in leading the transition of his company from AAA to ground support in countless assaults. Sadly he left his home unit of so many years to oversee occupation with the 19th AAA group before heading home in late 1945 for a brief visit before heading back to Germany as a Major to command further organization of AAA units for long-term occupation duty.

     

    El Roy left the army in 1946 a long-seasoned veteran, having saw action from Morocco to Munich. He returned home to Pennsylvania and married his sweetheart before settling down in Reading. For work, El Roy joined the Textile Machine Works as a lowly engine technician and in less then 10 years had made his way to president of the entire company, the largest producer of textile machines in the nations. He served on the board of American bank and spent his free time golfing and hunting. He and his wife also became avid antique collectors and had gathered one of the largest collections of fine art in the east coast. Upon El Roy’s passing in 2008, where this jacket was acquired, his antiques sold for over $2,000,000.

     

    I am very proud to now take care of this uniform from a salty and well-seasoned T-Patcher. With 9 campaigns stars and three invasions under his belt, he is easily the most impressive in my collection. I hope you all enjoyed his story and the overlooked story of the 443rd AAA, a truly under-appreciated but important piece of the army advance from the Mediterranean to Germany.

     

    -Alex

     

    02d7b6f0155e8786fb4c538df7cdf9d3.jpeg

     

    180fd9fcc711d6112a86ec58e9b75a20.jpeg

    2cb62692a8ea8bc0467f0176ae72eb5b.jpg

     

    5d2af0d7638a469f4ef6d3ed223b1761.jpeg

     

    f7943c410fbac13909fdcafa852e3e9a.jpeg

     

    A T-28 of the 443rd in North Africa

    7a565e0930dcf99e889f5f04ccdb510d.jpeg

     

    A battalion M16 near the Moselle

    93bf6e110230767fa17328bf738c63d6.jpeg

     

    A long-surviving T-28 of the 443rd guarding the St. Raphael air base during Operation Dragoon

    21394bbe7e8a6df806cbb7db68b373e4.jpeg

  13. Hey all, hope it's not too terrible a Monday. Today I thought I would share with you the story of really neat uniform I received from a surgical technician of the 310th Regiment, 78th “Lightning” Division.

     

    William Densmore Barnett Jr. was born to a small family in the rural farming community of Walden, Vermont. The son of a WWI veteran, William and his family held a proud military tradition dating back to the founding of the country. Despite this, William did not intend to serve and instead spent his days farming and working as an apprentice carpenter in Marshfield. As war broke out, however, even rural Vermont was not immune to the draft. William received his notice and joined the US Army in September of 1942.

     

    Handy with small tools and filings from his carpentry days, the army somehow presumed he would be a good fit for the medical corps and received training as a surgical technician before joining the medical section of the 3rd Battalion, 310th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division. Not as eager as his ancestors, William attempted to receive a discharge claiming he needed to rejoin the civilian force as a vital worker on his family farm. The army deemed the need for medics greater and denied his request.

     

    William and the 78th left for England in late 1944 and eventually arrived in France in November. The division was meant as a relief to the heavily battered allied forces that had served since D-Day, first seeing active combat time on December 1st while replacing the 1st Infantry Division near Entenpfuhl. The 78th did not get much time to settle in as less than two weeks later Rundstedt’s massive winter offensive put the 78th on the defensive, forcing them to hold their section of the Siegfried line against a strong German attack. The division went on the offensive towards the end of January and began pushing deep into Germany.

     

    During this period of advance, William earned his Bronze Star Medal. Alongside his regular job as a surgeon for the battalion medical section, William managed the records and files. During an attack, enemy fire destroyed and heavily damaged much of the important medical records that detailed the injuries and deaths of the battalion’s soldiers. Knowing these records were vital to the awardence of proper awards, payments, and pensions, William went out of his way to carefully piece together the records from scraps in order to compile and reconstruct the paperwork for the regimental casualties. It was for his efficiency and devotion under combat conditions to ensure the men of his unit received their due compensation for injuries sustained in action that he was awarded the Bronze Star.

     

    Not long after, William earned his Presidential Unit Citation and Purple Heart for actions leading up to and after the Remagen Bridge. Following the 9th Armored’s advance across the bridge, the 310th was technically considered the very first infantry battalion to cross the Rhine. William, sadly, did not make it that far to earn that title. Just a few days before the battalion reached the Rhine, they stumbled across Euskirchen, an important road, rail, and communications center for the German army. The battalion began its attack through the muddy, flat, plowed terrain with M4 Shermans leading the infantry. Preparing for their biggest battle yet, William and the men of the medical section had prepared a medical outpost for the suspected casualties. They were right, and throughout the day they were inundated with wounded GIs. The Germans had prepared strong defenses throughout the city and fought tooth and nail, with near constant artillery fire battering the men of the 3rd battalion. While I cannot confirm whether William was acting as a combat medic at this time or was still near the outpost, an artillery shell landed near him and left him with several pieces of shrapnel across his body. Thankfully, he was able to be stabilized and sent to the rear for more intensive treatment but did survive the wound.

     

    William rejoined the unit a month or so later for the final push, ending the war near Wuppertal. Having come so late to the fight, most of the 78th was forced to stay for occupation duty. Eventually William was sent to the 12th Armored with whom he returned home, spending the rest of his days as a farmer before retiring to Williamstown.

     

    I was very happy to get this uniform, as it is an excellent example on my quest to get a named uniform from each European infantry division. The uniform itself is a standard Ike but features some really beautiful plastic coated ribbons and Presidential Citation. It is interesting to note that he wears the WWI occupation ribbon instead of the proper WWII version. He was also awarded both the PUC and MUC, as you can see worn by other members of his platoon in the group photo. The best part, however, is the plastic 310th Regiment DUIs pinned onto the collar. Overall a really solid uniform from a cool unit which I am very happy to have in the collection.

     

    -Alex

     

    3a3052a3a7ba1533a17412967e3c591c.jpeg

     

    41662937a2e2e1b35cc4c79c97f14b05.jpeg

     

     

    fe123a943f0efc0f55f8d48631e04ac5.jpg

     

    685b5b0e4e108e74d22e6a061c8e629c.jpeg

     

    af4c66860d72e16c49cf62ebd7bdf28c.jpeg

     

    ab4e1f4d1432239d8074ebc4c8f470c7.jpeg

     

     

    7262634370d81484911201b9cbd4610b.jpeg

     

    8a701d595db88b30b64ab221ddfe7c37.jpeg

    43645ccea16a64339f601426fa2ab2c5.jpeg

     

     

    23c9fc3c626f8cae1110c0cfe0df0c0f.jpeg

  14. Very professional looking. And great job integrating the boxes into the display. How did you do your write-ups for the display?They look like museum quality.
     
    Friar

    So the title card I just made up and the other two are his Silver Star citations. They look good in the picture and are actually just a very fine card stock. I printed a gold square and then glued a second slightly smaller piece that contained on the citation to give it a border.
  15. I always love seeing the variety from these threads.

    Here’s my only helmet with the original netting still, it was found locally. It belonged to Captain William F Edinger of the Quartermaster Corps. He joined in early 41 and served stateside until he was sent to join Eisenhower’s top-level staff for the planning of Operation Overlord. He was one of thirteen QMC officers given complete access to the plans and strategies of the landings as he was in charge of organizing the logistical flow of supplies for the assault troops and the logistics afterwards once a beachhead was secured. After the invasion he worked with SHAEF for a few more months before transferring as chief clerk of Field Services for the QMC, meaning he oversaw the operation of all field and frontline supply stations for the corps. He would’ve had to perform lots of duties on the front in this role which is likely why the liner still looks fancy (from his HQ days) but the shell is very salty and netted. After the war he came home and worked with German POWs but put his helmet on the shelf to save exactly it as he had it in the ETO. The shell a 1942 dated FS FB with a St. Clair rubber liner and the original cargo netting. Both the shell and liner are stamped with his name.

    42321ec08fb5b17620a2b499911aec89.jpg


    39fd1e0a0827acd337ef7433b55c9d9e.jpg


    c28fad7ddf6158d33693fb14c844eb75.jpg

    d47e996fa87eaccfcbaa04c01c35ec64.jpg

    c2fe13a373effecdfa4ae5b063169a3b.jpg

    f3a09cebacd45fd25f72849e5a09af16.jpg

    2de86305baa846ced1fb1a40593ef597.jpg

    9f42685e14a7b603aaafc41161f6fb41.jpg

    f3d7815ac1b8162ce8a5f1367e2f2e1c.jpg

    4adab9f7caf9b57a70767322cd11da0b.jpg

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.