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USMC SGT. MAJOR JOHN BODNAR OSS FIGHTER WWII Grouping


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“These 4 Marines killed so many Germans, the Nazis thought they were an entire battalion”

 

This is a common title when searching about the exploits of them Sergeant John P Bodnar and the team of Marines he fought with.

Bodnar was 20 years old and and anxious to leave his stateside duties as a parachute instructor for adventure and combat. One of Bodnar’s student happened to be the famous Peter Ortiz, a major at the time, asked Bodnar if he was interested in using his parachute skills in combat. Bodnar told Major Ortiz “I certainly am”, and Ortiz didn’t say another word about it.

After passing a thorough security check Bodnar joined the Office of Strategic Services - the OSS - and was later sent to London for training.

Bodnar was one of 6 Marines that made up a seven man team all specially trained in demolitions, parachuting, house breaking , lock picking , and Judo. Bodnar and their team parachuted into France in 1944 at a dangerous altitude of 400 feet. Bodnar said their parachutes opened immediately and the next thing he remembers he was on the ground.

Once on the ground Ortiz introduced his team to French resistance fighters they were brought in to train. They trained them for a week and then began the harassment of German troops and supply lines.

By the summer of 1944 Ortiz, Risler, Bodnar, and a French resistance fighter found themselves cornered in the French town of Centron. The 3 Marines and French resistance fighter viciously held off the enemy as if they were an entire battalion. The French civilians in the town begged Ortiz and his men to surrender due to the fear that once they leave the Germans would pillage and burn the entire town. Ortiz told French fighter to leave as he would certainty be executed. Ortiz then told Risler and Bodnar to go while they could. Risler and Bodnar refuses to leave Ortiz and so they all surrendered.

The German officer didn’t believe it was just those Marines but after 30 minutes Ortiz was able to convince them it was. The men were sentenced to death as spies. Apparently they had escaped and been recaptured so many times their IDs and orders for death were lost. After spending months in a German POW camp Bodnar would be free and receive a Silver Star Medal for his part in the operation.

Bodnar would go on to have a career in the Marines. He saw the battle of Chosin and served 2 tours in Vietnam. Bodnar would retired as a Sgt. Major.

 

This is just basic information I’ve compiled from an article included in the grouping. There is more to these Marine’s story.

 

I believe these were the only Marines to make a combat jump in WWII.

 

There is a tub full of his items with everything name stamped. The coat had to be partially restored but is in great shape.

 

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WOW! What a cool thing and thanks so much for sharing the pictures and the story! I love anything OSS related, so this was really fun to see! Are you going to display all of it?

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WOW! What a cool thing and thanks so much for sharing the pictures and the story! I love anything OSS related, so this was really fun to see! Are you going to display all of it?

I have the uniform and p41 top on mannequins! Also his khaki shirt, tie and hat under the uniform. There are so many khaki uniforms and dress pants I can’t really think of a practical way to display it. As for the flight suit I may try and figure out a way to hang it behind the mannequins.

 

This compass also came with the group. It’ll be with the display.

 

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Truly amazing to have so many items from this hero. Marines in the European theater were prob as scarce as hens teeth.

 

Ok, so here are a couple of comments from the sidelines: Force Recon wings but no basic jump wings with combat jump star. Was that just an Army thing? No awards from the French Govt?

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I "primarily" collect Gulf War 1 patches. All branches (USA, USAF,USN, USMC & USCG) and ALL Countries..
US - Op.'s Desert Shield / Storm / Provide Comfort /Some Southern Watch - F-4G's Wild Weasels
UK - Op.'s Granby / Sabre / Warden
Canadian - Op. Desert Storm / Op. Friction
French - Daguet / Aconit
Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, South Korea, etc.
Looking for the oddities, including unfinished & flaws
I HAVE EXTRA's!! Will trade as well.

 

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Truly amazing to have so many items from this hero. Marines in the European theater were prob as scarce as hens teeth.

 

Ok, so here are a couple of comments from the sidelines: Force Recon wings but no basic jump wings with combat jump star. Was that just an Army thing? No awards from the French Govt?

So the ribbons and wings were added back to the coat. The coat didn’t have them as I’d assumed the family took them off for a shadowbox of some sort. I did my best to piece together a ribbon bar that resembled what he wore in his last years of his career.

 

I do believe he had some French awards. Here’s an article done by a Sgt. In the Marines who interviewed Bodnar. He did an illustration of a picture he took.

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That’s an incredible group!

 

Are those Marine air crew wings with a combat star? Was he part of an air crew at some point, maybe in Vietnam?

LOOKING FOR ANY AND ALL ITEMS RELATED TO
THE 305TH BOMB GROUP FROM WWII.

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That’s an incredible group!

 

Are those Marine air crew wings with a combat star?  Was he part of an air crew at some point, maybe in Vietnam?

 

I believe he was air crew in Korea and Vietnam. I haven’t found much description beyond his endeavors in WWII. He was 1st air delivery platoon during Korea. I know he was at Chosin and just about every other battle during the Korean War. He did 2 tours during the Vietnam War as well.

 

 

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That is an absolutely fantastic grouping!

RIP Molly...Oct. 2000 - July 2013 For 13 years you have been my best friend and companion, giving love and asking only for love in return. May you rest now, free from your pain. I will miss you girl, and will keep you in my heart forever....the sweetest dog and best friend ever! I'll see you again one day.


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What a super, super group. I love Marines who served in the European theater, such an interesting and often forgotten chapter of Corps history. It's rare I get excited over a uniform...but this is definitely one of those times! Phenomenal, and would make an incredible in-depth research project

-Brig
GySgt/USMC/0369
RSU-Quantico


"FOR OUR TOMORROWS, THEY GAVE THEIR TODAYS"
RIP
Sgt Jesse 'Jeff Nasty' Balthaser
Sgt John P Huling
Cpl Carlos 'Gilo Monster' Gilorozco
Cpl Stephen C 'Socks' Sockalosky
LCpl Joshua A 'Scottie' Scott
LCpl Jason Lee 'Birdman' Frye
LCpl Nicolas B Morrison
LCpl Jon T Hicks
LCpl Osbrany 'Oz' Montes De Oca
Pvt Lewis T D Calapini
'The SOI 5'

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Truly amazing to have so many items from this hero. Marines in the European theater were prob as scarce as hens teeth.

 

Ok, so here are a couple of comments from the sidelines: Force Recon wings but no basic jump wings with combat jump star. Was that just an Army thing? No awards from the French Govt?

 

Those are not "Force Recon Wings", they are Navy/Marine Corps Parachutist Wings. In WWII, they were parachute rigger wings but some Paramarines wore them instead of the Army's "lead sleds". Due to this out of reg use, in 1963 they were designated as Navy/Marine Corps parachute insignia, essentially an upgrade to the basic parachutist badge for personnel that have completed a minimum of five additional static-line or P3 jumps, to include: (1) combat equipment day jump, two (2) combat equipment night jumps, and employ at least two (2) different types of military aircraft

 

 

The Marine Corps has never recognized combat jump stars

-Brig
GySgt/USMC/0369
RSU-Quantico


"FOR OUR TOMORROWS, THEY GAVE THEIR TODAYS"
RIP
Sgt Jesse 'Jeff Nasty' Balthaser
Sgt John P Huling
Cpl Carlos 'Gilo Monster' Gilorozco
Cpl Stephen C 'Socks' Sockalosky
LCpl Joshua A 'Scottie' Scott
LCpl Jason Lee 'Birdman' Frye
LCpl Nicolas B Morrison
LCpl Jon T Hicks
LCpl Osbrany 'Oz' Montes De Oca
Pvt Lewis T D Calapini
'The SOI 5'

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donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

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What a super, super group. I love Marines who served in the European theater, such an interesting and often forgotten chapter of Corps history. It's rare I get excited over a uniform...but this is definitely one of those times! Phenomenal, and would make an incredible in-depth research project

 

Thank you Brig! I plan on readying about their Endeavors in “Ortiz : To Live a Man’s Life”.

 

With everything closed down I held down to google right now.

 

 

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OUTSTANDING Group of an OUTSTANDING Marine. I've always hoped a movie would be made about Ortiz and his merry band. Truth, stranger than fiction!. Congrats on being the custodian of this historic material! Semper FI! Bob

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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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OUTSTANDING Group of an OUTSTANDING Marine. I've always hoped a movie would be made about Ortiz and his merry band. Truth, stranger than fiction!. Congrats on being the custodian of this historic material! Semper FI! Bob

 

I really wish they would!

 

Really excited about it that’s for sure

 

 

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Wow, one of the best USMC uniform posts I have seen/read on here in some time. Congrats on obtaining the collection. Look forward to seeing what all sort of adventures your research will provide once the world is alive again!

Always looking for 325th G.I.R. and WWII USMC items!
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Wow, one of the best USMC uniform posts I have seen/read on here in some time.  Congrats on obtaining the collection.  Look forward to seeing what all sort of adventures your research will provide once the world is alive again!

Thank you Brian!

 

Like I said before... could be a while before I get deep into it with this damn virus

 

 

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Yes its such a small group of Marines during WWII in the ETO and such an elite unit to boot! Great stuff and Ortiz and the OSS; what else can I say.

Congrats,

 

Kurt

My hobby is my job and my job is my hobby. High School and University History Instructor

 

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Thank you Brian!

 

Like I said before... could be a while before I get deep into it with this damn virus

 

 

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Start small and digitally... Muster Rolls on Ancestry are a good starting place

-Brig
GySgt/USMC/0369
RSU-Quantico


"FOR OUR TOMORROWS, THEY GAVE THEIR TODAYS"
RIP
Sgt Jesse 'Jeff Nasty' Balthaser
Sgt John P Huling
Cpl Carlos 'Gilo Monster' Gilorozco
Cpl Stephen C 'Socks' Sockalosky
LCpl Joshua A 'Scottie' Scott
LCpl Jason Lee 'Birdman' Frye
LCpl Nicolas B Morrison
LCpl Jon T Hicks
LCpl Osbrany 'Oz' Montes De Oca
Pvt Lewis T D Calapini
'The SOI 5'

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donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

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Yes its such a small group of Marines during WWII in the ETO and such an elite unit to boot! Great stuff and Ortiz and the OSS; what else can I say.

Congrats,

 

Kurt

Thank you Kurt! Love how was hand selected by Ortiz out of nowhere

 

 

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