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Carmine Landato- 9th Med Bn, 9th ID, patching up GIs from Algeria to Germany


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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.

 

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GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard              ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR                      ACW               Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR                  ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID       WWI                WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co.           WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID    WWII              WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70                     WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div         Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div     Vietnam

 

Contact me with items from the 36th Infantry Division or any IDd uniforms of European Theater Infantry Divisions

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