Veteran’s Testimony – Anthony S. D’Angelo Company C, 47th Armored Medical Battalion
My name is Anthony S. D’Angelo. I was born 19 October 1919 in Brooklyn, New York, United States. My Parents were Salvatore D’Angelo and Josephine Pepitone, who immigrated to the United States in 1898 and 1904 respectively. My siblings were Peter, Joseph, Jean, Kathryn, and Rose. My education started with Elementary Junior School, subsequently followed by the Manhattan Textile High School. I started working as a radio mechanic and later became a radio/TV repairman. My main civilian occupation however, was automobile mechanic. Thanks to the “GI Bill” I was able to study radio & television electronics at the Manhattan Technical Institute, eventually working as a Radio/TV repairman for a few years. My further postwar career partially took me first to American Machine & Foundry, followed by a position with Fairchild Space & Defense Systems, where I was involved in some military projects.
When we first heard of the Japanese surprise attack against Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, my girlfriend and I were on our way to the Paramount Theater, downtown New York, to go watch a movie and we got the news on my car radio in the afternoon. We were not only petrified; first we didn’t know where Pearl Harbor really was, in America? Later, we got angry and revolted against such treachery! The reaction brought about a wave of nationalism and patriotism, and many youngsters felt they had to volunteer for Uncle Sam.
I was drafted when I was 22 years old, the date was 3 March 1942 and the Induction Station was Camp Upton situated in Yaphank, on Long Island, New York. When President F. D. Roosevelt signed the “Selective Training and Service Act of 1940” on 16 September 1940, the Act provided that no more than 900,000 men were to be in training at any one time, and limited service time to 12 months (later extended to 18 months). The “Act” required any men between the ages of 21 and 36 currently living in the country to register in order to be inducted. Selectees could not be sent to foreign possessions overseas. Provisions further added that draftees would serve the duration of the war plus 6 months, and that they could be drafted in any branch of the Military. The Selective Service System allowed the US Government to fill wartime manpower needs smoothly and rapidly after the Jap attack on Pearl Harbor.
After being inducted (I received ASN 32221673), I was sent to Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia. Construction was still going on when the Quartermaster Replacement Training Center started operating there in February 1941. Camp Lee was also the home of a Medical Replacement Training Center (MRTC). It was later re-designated Army Service Forces Replacement Training Center.
I had been selected to serve with the Medical Department (part of the Army Service Forces), and was therefore sent to Camp Lee (total acreage 7,534, troop capacity 2,143 Officers & 38,427 Enlisted Men –ed) to train as a Medical Technician.
The detailed program at the time (1942) lasted a full thirteen (13) weeks. The scope of Instruction included a first phase, designated “Basic” which represented the following subjects:
Military Courtesy and Discipline (6 hours)
Personal Hygiene and First Aid (5 hours)
Equipment, Clothing, and Shelter Tent Pitching (9 hours)
Individual Defense Against Chemical Attack (6 hours)
Individual Defense Against Air, Parachute, and Mechanized Attack (5 hours)
Interior Guard (3 hours)
Dismounted Drill (29 hours)
Marches and Bivouacs (45 hours)
Physical Training (39 hours)
to the above were added in a second phase “Technical” subjects, including:
Hasty Entrenchments and Shelter (Camouflage) (12 hours)
Elementary Anatomy and Physiology (21 hours)
Nomenclature and Care of Organization Equipment (6 hours)
Field Medical Records (5 hours)
Treatment of Gas Casualties (8 hours)
Litter Drill including Ambulance Loading and Unloading and Passage of Obstacles (10 hours)
Field Sanitation and Sanitary Appliances (20 hours)
Materia Medica and Pharmacy (12 hours)
Heavy Tent Pitching (6 hours)
Organization and Function of Arms (9 hours)
Organization and Function of the Medical Unit (9 hours)
Medical Aid (Splints and Splinting; Bandages and Dressings) (60 hours)
For Basic Technicians, Medical OR Surgical, the scope of additional subjects included the following:
General Subjects (13 hours)
Ward Management (65 hours)
Care and Treatment of Patients (39 hours)
Diets (10 hours)
Ward Records (12 hours)
to which were further added: Map and Aerial Photograph Reading (15 hours)
Orientation in Night Combat (14 hours)
Communications in Combat (5 hours)
Technical and Tactical Employment of Medical Field Units (95 hours)
Troop Movements by Motors (16 hours)
After graduating as a Medical Technician (MOS 409), a number of us were selected to be transferred to another station. I was to be assigned to a medical unit and our group eventually entrained for Fort Knox in Kentucky. The 47th Medical Squadron (Mechanized) was activated at Fort Knox, Louisville, Kentucky (Armored Replacement Training Center & School, total acreage 107,148, troop capacity 3,489 Officers & 57,048 Enlisted Men –ed) on 1 February 1939. On 15 July 1940, it was once more re-organized and re-designated the 47th Medical Battalion, becoming the organic medical unit attached to the 1st Armored Division (former 7th Cavalry Brigade). A final change led to the unit now being designated as the 47th Medical Battalion, Armored, effective 1 January 1942.
For more than two years following activation, the 1st Armored Division trained and participated in important continental maneuvers. (Second Army Louisiana Maneuvers in Sep 41 and First Army Carolina Maneuvers in Oct 41 –ed). At its early stages of activation the Division had to do with whatever equipment could be provided, but during the following period it contributed to the development of tank gunnery and warfare, which was badly needed considering potential deployment overseas and participation in combat operations in a foreign Theater.
The 47th Armored Medical Battalion consisted of a Headquarters & Headquarters Company and three (3) lettered Medical Companies. Each of the lettered Companies (A, B, C) was centered around two (2) specialized pieces of equipment; Surgical Operating Trucks and Tents, each capable of handling up to three (3) operations at a time. Prior to combat it was anticipated that in certain situations, both Surgical Trucks might not operate at the same location, but that one might be used at a place somewhat removed from the other. Because of this possibility, the entire Armored Medical Company was set up in such a way that each Treatment Section could operate individually, having its own personnel and equipment. The Ambulance Section (to which I was assigned, after joining Company C) of the Companies was also split into two (2) separate Sections to meet such situations, so that each Section had its own ambulances (having worked as an automobile mechanic before, the skills I obtained obviously assisted my being appointed ambulance driver). The ambulance vehicles we were issued were of the field and cross-country type, ½-ton, 4 x 4, 1,000 lb payload, generally allocated to Armored – Cavalry – and Infantry Divisions. Their capacity was either 4 litter cases or 7 sitting patients, or 2 litter cases or 4 sitting patients. They were operated by a driver (responsible for the vehicle), and an orderly, also assistant driver (who prepared the ambulance for operation, assisted with loading and unloading, and cared for the patients being transported). For security reasons litter cases were always loaded head first. When operating in Tunisia and Italy, we gradually received new vehicles. The ambulances were of the field type, ¾-ton, 4 x 4, with a 1,800 lb payload, with better performance, and a capacity for 4 litter cases or 8 sitting patients.
Preparation for Overseas Movement – United Kingdom:
After returning to Fort Knox, Kentucky, in December 1941, the 1st Armored Division was transferred to Fort Dix, New Jersey, on 11 April 1942, at the time one of the important staging points for overseas movement. It was there that we found out that we had joined an armored unit. Apart from our daily duties, I was very much involved in preparing the different Division vehicles for loading onto railcars (flatbeds) for movement. The weeks preceding the voyage were hectic as the staff and personnel engaged in a full program including calisthenics, road marches, close order drill, immunization shots, gas mask exercises, paperwork, etc. with lots of time dedicated to packing and stowage of vehicles. Personnel and vehicles were loaded on trains and trucks while the Division vehicles were loaded on flatcars for movement to the New York Staging Area.
No Armored Division had ever been shipped through New York Port of Embarkation before, and our ship, the “Queen Mary”, would carry the bulk of the Division, personnel and individual equipment, while the Division’s vehicles and equipment would be shipped from various Atlantic ports, which caused quite some confusion including the question, whether would we see all of it back, when needed?
During our stay at Fort Dix, a number of replacements joined the unit, it was also time to say goodbye to some of our overaged Officers who would not sail with us for overseas service. Trains carried the men to Jersey City, where they boarded ferries after dark to take them to the docks. Once on the pier, long lines were formed, and after checking shipping lists and rosters, we went up the gangplank to board the great ship.
The “Queen Mary” sailed with the larger part of the Division on 10 May 1942 (part of the Division had already reached Northern Ireland 12 May with some 200 tanks –ed) with Colonel Paul M. Robinett in command of all troops (the “Queen” carried the fourth increment of “Magnet Force” including over 10,000 troops). On 16 May 1942, the ship passed through the Irish Sea and continued on to the Clyde, ending her passage off Gourock and Greenock, Scotland.
Following debarkation, the men were ferried to Belfast, Northern Ireland, from where they further moved to Dundrum Bay, County Down, Ballykinler, and Newcastle. Remaining behind as a member of the rear echelon, I entrained for Boston, Massachusetts, later boarding a small ship loaded with artillery and tank ammunition (this must have been the “North King”) and departing NY Port of Embarkation for Halifax, Canada, in order to join a large convoy heading for the United Kingdom. Other Division units indeed followed on different transports, such as the “North King”, the “Duchess of York”, and the “Oriente”, which only sailed on 25 and 31 May 1942 respectively, reaching Belfast, Northern Ireland, 10 and 11 June 1942. The trip across the Atlantic was uneventful, except for the zig-zagging, the numerous abandon-ship drills, and KP duties, and the dropping of depth charges by the destroyers escorting the convoy, on a ‘suspected ‘ U-boat. By 13 June 1942, the Division had received the last of its tanks in Northern Ireland.
Our Battalion, less Company B which was detached from the organization to participate in the initial invasion of North Africa (Operation “Torch” 8 Nov 42), remained in Northern Ireland until 21 October 1942, making preparations for movement to England. We left Northern Ireland for England on 29 October 1942, where we would remain until 8 December 1942. Our first station was to be Wilmslow, followed by Alderly Edge, both in Cheshire, England.
Our first activities included setting up a Battalion Aid Station and Dispensary, yet, our initial tasks consisted of inoculations of staff and personnel. I remember we even were given arms to organize night watch and guard duty in case German parachutists would suddenly drop on us. Seven months would be spent in Northern Ireland and England, leaving a number of interesting memories, such as the endless training, the cramped maneuvers, the mock battles and field exercises, the road marches, during day and night, in rain and mud, including the endless flow of visiting VIPs (including Britain’s King and Queen –ed), and last but not least the numerous inspections! While the bulk of the 1st Armored Division completed its preparations to move to French North Africa, CCB shipped out of the Clyde in the great convoy bound for Oran, Algeria …
Preparation for Overseas Movement – North Africa:
The bulk of the 1st Armored Division continued to train and prepare for transfer to North Africa. The first to start preparations were the personnel, immediately followed by loading and packing of our ambulances, trucks, and tents. Departure from England took place in two separate groups; Major Morris R. Holtzclaw, the Battalion Executive Officer, departed from Wilmslow, England, with Company C, on 25 November 1942. The remainder of the Battalion left England on 8 December 1942. The move included Headquarters & Headquarters Company, and Sections, Company A, and Company B, 47th Armored Medical Battalion. The latter sailed from Liverpool on the “Duchess of Bedford”, part of a convoy of 28 transports, which reached Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria, 21 December 1942.
On 11 January 1943, the 47th Armored Medical Battalion effected a 4-day movement, by rail and motor convoy, to the Division Staging Area in the vicinity of Constantine, Algeria.
On 17 January 1943, an advance party left for the final Division Staging Area at Bou Chebka, located on the Algeria-Tunisia border
At the time of our arrival in North Africa, I was operating an ambulance for Company C. I perfectly remember we were all gung-ho, thinking our Division would have an easy way neutralizing any German threat. But we soon found out that the German tanks, and more particularly their fearsome 88-mm multi-purpose guns were no match! The American armor could simply not cope with the superior German panzers. At that period we were still equipped with M3 and M5 light and medium tanks, while new M4 medium tanks and M10 tank destroyers were delivered later in the war.
On 21 January 1943, Major Morris R. Holtzclaw, MC, O-348716, accompanied by one Section of Company C moved from the Bou Chebka Staging Area to support CCA, commanded by Brigadier General Raymond E. McQuillin, in a holding action at Faïd Pass and Sidi-bou-Zid. This part of the Battalion would remain in the Sbeïtla area, Tunisia, medically supporting troops engaged in minor action and patrol activities.
On 22 January 1943, Captain Leon D. Beddow, MC, O-23646, with Captain Albert M. Wheeler’s Section of Company C left the organization to support a Task Force (temporarily designated Combat Command C) commanded by Colonel Robert I. Stack on a raid against the Italian garrison at Sened Station. The successful raid and resulting operation took place on 24 January, with the return of TF Stack to Bou Chebka, Algeria. The drawback was that the enemy was now paying closer attention to the Gafsa area, expecting additional Allied attacks, which would not turn into our favor.
On 29 January 1943, Company C (less Treatment Section) was serving CCA elements established in the vicinity of Sbeïtla, Tunisia, and Sidi-bou-Zid, Tunisia.
Company C Staff – 47th Armored Medical Battalion (dated 29 January 1943)
Captain Simeon S. Baker, MC, O-344795 (Company Commanding Officer)
Captain Albert M. Wheeler, MC, O-309110 (Treatment Section Leader)
First Lieutenant Harold D. Ashworth, MC, O-345183 (Treatment Section Leader)
On 30 January 1943, Captain Albert M. Wheeler’s Section, MC, O-309110, re-joined the rest of the Company in support of CCA in the vicinity of Sbeïtla and Sidi-bou-Zid. It later moved to Faïd Pass to render closer medical support to that part of combat troops operating in that area. As the Division prepared another move to attack and capture Maknassy, the Germans launched their own assault against Faïd Pass thus precipitating a series of necessary counter moves by elements of the 1st Armored Division which would however prolong the enemy’s initiative in the Tunisian campaign. II Corps eventually ordered CCA to counterattack without jeopardizing the defense of Sbeïtla.
Between 31 January 1943 – 2 February 1943, the American attack against Sened Station was met by strong German resistance. Bf 109 fighters (Messerschmitt) and Ju 87 (Junkers) fighter-bombers hit the tanks and infantry causing heavy casualties and disorganizing the attackers who called off the assault. Notwithstanding enemy bombing, artillery and antitank fire, and difficulties with communication, Sened Station was captured and occupied, with the Germans pulling back toward Maknassy, Tunisia.
The second week of February 1943 would prove delicate as Allied lines were overextended and dispersed allowing the enemy to outflank them, resulting in the capture of Sidi-bou-Zid on 14 February and an attack toward Sbeïtla and Gafsa.
On 14 February 1943, CCA was still supported by a Section of Company C in the vicinity of Sidi-bou-Zid. Following the enemy’s breakthrough, a general withdrawal of Battalion troops was ordered, with a Section commanded by Captain Robert O. Beaudet, MC, O-342845, pertaining to Company B providing support to the Division’s rearguard. Allied commanders meanwhile had agreed to evacuate Gafsa, Tunisia, rather than defend it. Further withdrawal became necessary as the enemy continued their advance, forcing further movement to Bekkaria, inside Algeria, where a bivouac was set up. It became clear to several of us that we were sending inexperienced units against a powerful force of tanks and antitank guns. We, Americans would learn the hard way.
On 18 February 1943, First Lieutenant Harold D. Ashworth’s Section, MC, O-345183, of Company C moved in support of CCA southeast of Tébessa, Algeria, providing medical support to the group until relieved by Company A 28 February 1943. During one of the night attacks in the Sbeïtla area, we were experiencing one of our first night battles, and amidst the explosions and machinegun and small fire, our job consisted of helping and treating small groups of wounded who had sought cover in holes, wadis, or behind sandy hills and abandoned vehicles. This was hectic! The enemy’s capture of Sbeïtla opened the way to Sbiba and Kasserine. After advancing from Gafsa and Fériana, Tunisia, General Erwin Rommel’s German-Italian panzer forces were ready by 19 February to initiate another phase of their thrust west of Kasserine (where a new battle would take place between 19 and 22 February 1943 –ed).
Between 1 March 1943 – 13 March 1943, the Battalion was busy re-equipping and re-organizing after the operations at Faïd Pass and Kasserine Pass, Tunisia. Extensive maintenance of the unit’s vehicles was badly needed. During the Kasserine fighting, I was not only driving one of our ambulances, but my job mainly consisted in triage and treatment of our many wounded. I must confess that treating and caring for patients was new for me, but with the experience we became hardened, since we hadn’t really been confronted with the ‘bloody’ aspect of warfare before. It must be said that we were never really involved in combat, in most cases we would be located some 5 to 6 miles from the actual combat zone.
On 14 March 1943, heavy spring rains began falling in the area north and northeast of Gafsa, soaking the roads across the Foussana Valley, through the Kasserine Pass, and around Fériana choking the ambulances in ribbons of glue-like mud. Heavy vehicles like tanks could not move rapidly and many bogged down in the mud and sand. CCA moved toward Zannouch Station, under strong rain and hail.
On 21 March 1943, CCA and Company C moved off in direction of Gafsa, Tunisia. On 22 March, Sened Station was captured, followed by Maknassy, also in Tunisia, with Company C moving in for close support during the subsequent fighting in the hills to the east and north of Maknassy. After Faïd Pass was evacuated by the enemy forces, CCA went through the pass and up north in mopping up operations, with Company A providing medical support. After the southern part of the Tunisian campaign had been completed, the Division moved north advancing toward Mateur, Tunisia.
On 30 March 1943, II Corps massed its artillery guns to assist an overall armored breakthrough in the sector of El Guettar, Tunisia. The Battalion was to emerge from its combat operations in March and early April with extensive and varied combat experience and the sobering experience of substantial losses. We arrived in North Africa all gung-ho and thought we would wipe the Axis forces out of North Africa! Well, there were many lessons to learn.
Between 2 April 1943 – 6 April 1943, heavy fighting erupted without any major success, but then from 6 April on the enemy began to gradually give ground, with good prospects of further Allied advances. Progress was made along the Gafsa-Gabès road southeast of El Guettar, though roads were terrible, and terrain was often cut by deep wadis making delivery and distribution of supplies very difficult.
On 19 April 1943, Division began pulling out of the Sbeïtla-Sidi-bou-Zid area for the last phase of the Tunisian campaign, to be fought in the north-eastern part of the country between 20 April and 13 May 1943. Thanks to combined efforts the British and American forces were able to defeat the remaining enemy forces in Tunisia.
On 23 April 1943, Headquarters, Combat Command A assumed direction of the operations along the southern edge of the upper Tine Valley. One of its elements, the 6th Armored Infantry Regiment was medically supported by Company C. This situation would last until 3 May 1943 when the road to Mateur, Tunisia, was successfully opened and Division troops achieved a breakthrough advancing in the direction of Ferryville. Mateur was taken on 3 May 1943. After the city’s capture, Company C followed CCA probing the enemy’s defenses while seeking the best way to penetrate them.
On 10 May 1943, Company C moved to join the Battalion in a new bivouac area some seven miles south of Ferryville, Tunisia, where it established a Treatment Station.
On 24 May 1943, the 47th Armored Medical Battalion, less Companies A and B, left its bivouac with the third serial en route to Rabat, French Morocco (ref Field Order No. 28, Headquarters, 1st Armored Division, dated 20 May 1943, and Administrative Order No. 13, to accompany Field Order No. 28 (see above), and Annex No. 7 to Administrative Order No. 13, Headquarters, 1st Armored Division, dated 21 May 1943 –ed). It reached its planned bivouac at 1910 hours, five miles west of Souk Ahras the same day. At first, we expected that returning to French Morocco meant back to the States. This was however not the case. Anyway, we were all glad to hear that the 1st Armored Division would be equipped with better and stronger tanks!
On 2 June 1943, Battalion, less Companies A and B, arrived at the bivouac located seven miles south of Rabat, French Morocco, located on the Rabat-Marchand road. Companies A and B had already closed in the area on 31 May and 1 June 1943 respectively. Upon arrival, all three Companies opened Treatment Stations, with Battalion acting as Division Treatment Station.
Between 4 June 1943 – 31 July 1943, a period of unit training, operation of the Division Treatment Station, and overall vehicle maintenance took place.
In July 1943, the 47th Armored Medical Battalion, was cited by the Commanding General, Major General Ernest N. Harmon, 1st Armored Division (ref Paragraph 10, General Order No. 63, Headquarters, 1st Armored Division, dated 9 July 1943 –ed).
On 3 August 1943, Company C (less Detachment) comprising 10 Officers and 68 Enlisted Men left for the new bivouac in the vicinity of Oran, Algeria.
On 5 August 1943, 5 Enlisted Men and 1 ambulance, Company C, left to accompany the 13th Armored Regiment convoy leaving the following day for the Company’s new bivouac.
On 6 August 1943, Second Lieutenant Victor Kizala, 36 EM and 1 ambulance from Company C, left to accompany the 13th Armored Regiment convoy, leaving 7 August to join the Company at the new bivouac.
On 7 August 1943, 6 Enlisted Men traveling per ambulance, Company C, left to accompany the 13th Armored Regiment convoy, leaving 8 August to join the Company at the new bivouac.
On 8 August 1943, 6 Enlisted Men and 1 ambulance of Company C, left to go with the 16th Armored Engineer Battalion convoy, leaving 9 August to join Company C at the new bivouac.
On 18 August 1943, Battalion, less Companies A and C, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Morris R. Holtzclaw (CO), accompanied by 17 Officers, 2 Warrant Officers, 219 Enlisted Men, and 54 vehicles, left the Rabat, French Morocco, bivouac for the new Division area at Oran, Algeria (ref Letter, Headquarters, Combat Command A, 47th Armored Medical Battalion, Subject: Convoy Movement, dated 17 August 1943 –ed).
On 19 August 1943, Battalion, less Companies A and C, left the Guercif bivouac en route for a new bivouac area about five miles east of Ste-Barbe-du-Tlélat, Algeria, already occupied by Company C.
Between 24 August 1943 – 9 October 1943, Battalion underwent a period of unit training, while preparing for overseas movement and operating the Division Treatment Station, assisted by Companies A, B, and C.
On 7 October 1943, Major General Ernest N. Harmon (CG) presented during a parade formation held in the Battalion area the Legion of Merit ribbons to Captain Gerald A. Geise, Captain Armand A. DeVittorio, First Lieutenant John J. Downes, Second Lieutenant Victor Kizala, Staff Sergeant Edward D. Cooper, Staff Sergeant Jimmie Blake, Sergeant Wilford C. Brinkley, and the Soldier’s Medal to Technical Sergeant Glenn E. Allen.
On 23 October 1943, 3 Enlisted Men and 4 vehicles, Company C, left for Oran, Algeria, en route for a new Theater (Italy).
On 28 October 1943, Captain Roger E. Allen, 10 Enlisted Men, and 8 vehicles, from Company C, left for Algiers, Algeria, for movement to a new Theater (Italy). First Lieutenant Silvio A. Mattucci, 2 EM, and 2 vehicles, Company C, left also for Algiers the same day. They were followed by Captain Morris Siegel, Company C, who left for Oran, Algeria, with convoy no. 69, later followed by First Lieutenant Thomas A. Carrigan, Company C, en route to Oran with convoy no. 70, and Captain Leon Phillips, Company C, also en route to Oran, Algeria, with convoy no. 71 to a new Theater Italy).
On 29 October 1943, 1 EM and 1 vehicle left for Algiers with convoy no. 4, followed by another Enlisted Man and a vehicle en route for Algiers, Algeria, with convoy no. 5 for movement to a new Theater (Italy).
On 12 November 1943, the greater part of personnel belonging to Company C left the bivouac at Ste-Barbe-du-Tlélat, Algeria for shipment overseas to a new Theater (Italy).
Preparation for Overseas Movement – Italy:
28 November 1943, Staff Sergeant Ernest W. Schibi, 37002484, and Private Walter Phelps, 15041983, both from Company C, were slightly wounded by falling flak shrapnel during an enemy raid on Naples, Italy. No hospitalization was required in both cases.
Throughout the greater part of December 1943, Company C was operating the Division Treatment Station (with help from Company A). Training continued although at times interrupted by frequent rains and muddy grounds which required extra care and cleaning of equipment.
On 2 December 1943, Company C departed the former Battalion bivouac 4.7 miles south of Caserta, Italy, for a new site approximately 2½ miles north of Capua, Italy.
On 9 January 1944, Captain Frank G. Dudley, MC, O-463497, Company C, absent sick and expected to be absent for more than 30 days was dropped from the rolls as per Special Order No. 9, Headquarters, 1st Armored Division.
On 20 January 1944, 12 new replacements who had joined the Battalion on 17 January were transferred to Company C for duty.
On 21 January 1944, a group comprising 8 Officers and 116 Enlisted Men, Company C, commanded by Major Leon D. Beddow, left their present bivouac 2½ miles north of Capua, for a new bivouac in a Staging Area some 2 miles west of Qualiano, Italy, where they arrived at 0745 hours, covering a distance of 25 miles. Warrant Officer, Junior Grade, Robert E. Beardsley, W-2110151, accompanied by 4 EM, 2 vehicles and 1 trailer, were attached to Headquarters, Division Trains for movement to the same destination with third priority. Company opened a Treatment Station at 0800 hours.
On 28 January 1944, Company C closed its Treatment Station. The organization, commanded by Captain Albert M. Wheeler, accompanied by a group consisting of 10 Officers, 94 Enlisted Men, and 21 vehicles left its bivouac at 0800 hours en route to its Staging Area in the Royal Palace Grounds, Naples, Italy. They were followed at 1015 by First Lieutenant Bertrand N. Beaudet, MAC, O-452329, with a detachment from Company C, comprising 19 EM, 4 vehicles, and 4 trailers who left for their Staging Area at Pozuolli, Italy, and the kitchen trucks with 16 EM who departed for the Royal Palace Grounds, Naples, at 1050 hours the same day.
On 31 January 1944, Company C, left the Royal Palace Grounds, Naples, and boarded LST 385 at Naples Harbor, Italy (destination Fifth United States Army Beachhead Anzio). Parts of the harbor were still blocked by sunken ships and destructions caused by the retreating enemy. After maintenance, we had to waterproof our vehicles, load them, and proceed to the docks, where we backed up into the waiting LST.
During the month of March 1944, the entire 47th Armored Medical Battalion, less Company B, committed on the Monte Cassino front, was stationed on the Anzio Beachhead. During this period, Companies A and C jointly operated the Division Treatment Section, including a small hospital where minor wounds, disease, and injury could be treated. While Company A operated as per standard procedure, patients were sorted and those able to return to duty within 7 to 10 days were turned over to Company C for further treatment and/or hospitalization.
In order to be able to handle the extra flow of patients, Company C received another ward tent, which helped them raise their bed capacity from 20 to 40 patients. A separate detachment of Company C remained 4½ miles east of the Anzio-Albano road to provide closer medical service to Division troops located in that specific area. While they functioned in a similar way as the parent Company, though on a smaller scale, their capacity was between 10 and 15 minor cases of wounds, disease, or injury.
On 29 March 1944, Sergeant Albert J. Woringer, 32059909, Company C, departed en route to the United States as part of a group of rotating personnel.
During early April 1944, the Treatment Station operated by Company C was an important link in caring for wounded and sick personnel from American units located along the Anzio-Albano road, as it was the only US Army medical unit in that area, the rest being British (British hospital sector). While stationed on Anzio, we were like sitting ducks, there was no place to go, and the only way to survive was to simply dug-in, and try to avoid being hit by the enemy barrages. The enemy possessed excellent observation posts and controlled the area.
On 11 April 1944, the detachment closed its station and returned to the main Battalion bivouac (main reason; area subjected to intense enemy shellfire). During the subsequent period, enemy artillery fire was much heavier than before with large caliber shells landing in the Battalion’s bivouac area causing damage to the Surgical and Medical Supply Trucks, and minor wounds to personnel.
Staff Sergeant Ernest W. Schibi, 38002484, Company C, 47th Armored Medical Battalion, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, for meritorious service from 15 December 1942 to 9 May 1943 in North Africa. Sergeant Ernest W. Schibli entered service from Kansas City, Missouri (ref Paragraph 1, General Order No. 27, Headquarters, 1st Armored Division, dated 26 April 1944).
Private Leard W. Church, 37111420, Company C, 47th Armored Medical Battalion, was awarded the Purple Heart medal for wounds received in action in Italy. He was slightly wounded during enemy shelling in the area occupied by the separate Detachment of Company C on 10 April 1944 (ref Paragraph 1, General Order No. 28, Headquarters, 1st Armored Division, dated 24 April 1944).
Private First Class José H. Salinas, 39155705, Company C, 47th Armored Medical Battalion, was awarded the Purple Heart medal for wounds received in battle in Italy. He was completely shaken up and slightly wounded by a near miss on his dugout on Anzio, Italy (ref Paragraph 1, General Order No. 28, Headquarters, 1st Armored Division, dated 24 April 1944).
Private First Class Donald H. Dill, 6694281, Company C, 47th Armored Medical Battalion, was awarded the Purple Heart medal for wounds received during an enemy air raid. He was slightly wounded by falling flak on 21 April 1944 (ref Paragraph 1, General Order No. 28, Headquarters, 1st Armored Division, dated 24 April 1944).
Captain Morris Siegel, MC, O-418521, Company C, 47th Armored Medical Battalion, was awarded the Purple Heart medal for wounds received in action in Italy. He received slight abrasions when an enemy heavy caliber shell scored a direct hit on his dugout (ref Paragraph 1, General Order No. 28, Headquarters, 1st Armored Division, dated 24 April 1944).
On 3 May 1944, orders were received to move the 47th Armored Medical Battalion from its bivouac area on the Albano-Anzio road to a spot on a back road from Nettuno to Division Headquarters. Because of enemy fire the move took three days to complete (new dugouts and foxholes had to be completed first). Some damage was caused to vehicles, but no casualties were suffered. I often drove or assisted my co-driver at night to go pick up patients at the Treatment Stations. After a while I developed some problems with driving. Having to do it during day, at night, with lights on, and lights out, I started suffering from disorientation and illusions, and wanted to change jobs because of eyesight problems. There had been a incident before when I almost bumped into a tank which had come out of its camouflaged position with only taillights on, and I hadn’t seen it. I had a big scare with my co-driver too. At one time, he was driving the ambulance with a load of walking wounded when we were suddenly shelled by the enemy. The road was turning right, but the man panicked and while trying to avoid the falling shells he turned left. Our vehicle went over the cliff but was fortunately caught up in a tree which stopped the fall. Some of the vehicles behind us stopped and helped us get out. As I was wearing my steel pot, I was only shaken and remained unharmed. I switched over to maintenance work for a while, checking and repairing electrical appliances, lighting equipment, generators, and after speaking with the captain eventually became an assistant in surgery. After all I was trained a Medical Technician and was now sterilizing instruments, and preparing items such as whole blood, intravenous solutions, plasma, and the like for our operating rooms. I never drove an ambulance after that.
The move was in preparation for an all-out attack by the 1st Armored Division to break out of the Anzio Beachhead. All movements were completed, allowing the attack to start at 0630 hours, 23 May 1944. This was a memorable day with all the Allied guns firing at once, including some of the offshore destroyers and cruisers; not just a terrible noise, but it gave us a sense of power as well.
On 7 May 1944, Staff Sergeant William D. Calvert, 15046926, Company C, left Anzio Beachhead en route to the Naples Rest Area, as part of the April rotation quota from the Battalion.
On 25 May 1944, II Corps elements attacking from the south met VI Corps Anzio Beachhead forces, restoring land communication to the southern part of Italy.
On 27 May 1944, Company C moved to a point three miles northwest of Cori to support CCB’s attack toward Valmontone. It was later withdrawn from the area in order to medically support a new armored thrust in the direction of Campoleone.
On 28 May 1944, Company C was subjected in the afternoon to heavy shelling lasting four hours. One man was wounded and two ambulances damaged, of which one beyond repair. A rapid withdrawal for two miles was necessary to escape enemy shellfire.
On 29 May 1944, Staff Sergeant Jake Donohoo, 15045179, Company C, was slightly wounded, but not hospitalized, following enemy shelling of Company C’s area.
The month of May 1944 was considered the heaviest month when counting the total number of patients treated in the history of the Battalion, with a total of 2165 cases having been handled.
Company C Staff – 47th Armored Medical Battalion (dated 31 May 1944)
Captain Albert N. Wheeler, MC, O-309110 (Company Commanding Officer)
Captain Morris Siegel, MC, O-418521 (Treatment Section Leader)
Captain Thomas A. Carrigan, MC, O-403263 (Treatment Section Leader)
Personnel changes and replacements; Captain Morris Siegel, MC, O-418521, left for the 7th Station Hospital and was eventually replaced by Captain Silvio A. Mattucci, MC, O-505999 as Section Leader in Company C.
A number of Officers , being over age, departed in accordance with the new T/O. Included was Captain Albert N. Wheeler, MC, O-309110, Company C. Captain Harold P. Bray, MC, O-420963, attached to Company C, was transferred to the 43d General Hospital, following orders dated 4 May 1944.
On 2 June 1944, Company C was located one mile southwest of Cori, from where it moved to Giulianelli the following day.
On 3 June 1944, contact with the enemy was lost. This day marked the final breakthrough of Allied forces from the Anzio Beachhead, bringing about the rapid and constant advance through Rome and to the northern part of Italy.
On 4 June 1944, Company C moved nearer to Rome, and during this advance it opened a Treatment Station at Casiliana. The move went further along Highway No. 6, approaching to a German garrison area some three miles east of Rome, Italy.
On 7 June 1944, Company C was stationed approximately 1½ miles south of Rancigalio, their final location before returning to the Battalion bivouac at Lake Bracciano.
On 9 June 1944, Company C, medically supporting TF Howze, remained detached from the Division under direct control of II Corps. All Company elements returned to the Division Assembly Area at Lake Bracciano, Italy, between 10 and 11 June 1944. Because of my Italian roots, Officers often called on ‘Tony’ to accompany a number of them into town to do some shopping, I still spoke some Italian and this certainly helped with translation as well. Being a catholic, it was comforting to have a Catholic Chaplain in our Battalion who could say mass, organize religious services, give the last rites, and assist men with personal problems. During our numerous missions, we tried to stop and rest for a while, take a break and find a shower and obtain a change of clothes.
On 24 June 1944, Company C moved further north to the vicinity of Roccastrada. It continued toward Torniella on 26 June.
On 28 June 1944, Company C moved another eight miles and set up a Treatment Station northwest of Chiusdino, Italy.
During the month of June 1944, the Battalion treated 456 Division battle casualties, and received 974 disease and injury cases. A total of 2680 patients were treated by the 47th Armored Medical Battalion during this period.
On 1 July 1944, Task Force Howze was attacking Voltera from the west, supported by Company C.
On 13 July 1944, Company C moved 2½ miles southeast of Casole d’Elsa to join the Battalion in the near area. It closed in bivouac at 1200 hours. The day was ‘special’ as this was the first time the Battalion was together since leaving Lake Bracciano.
From 13 July 1943, a training schedule was initiated by Battalion Headquarters, including close order drill, map reading, personal hygiene, and physical conditioning. Organized athletics, swimming, softball, and volleyball were also included. In compliance with the new T/O & E, units were instructed to await orders to re-organize in accordance with the T/O & E. I enjoyed some pleasant moments during which I got invited by local families for drinks and food. Speaking Italian opened some doors, which I very much appreciated. The population was very friendly toward the Americans in general.
End July 1944, a number of Officers departed the Battalion, being overaged and in accordance with the new T/O. They included Captain Albert N. Wheeler, MC, O-309110, Company C, and Officers of other Companies.
On 1 August 1944, Company C was located one mile west of Bolgheri, Italy.
Company C Staff – 47th Armored Medical Battalion (dated 1 August 1944)
Captain Thomas A. Carrigan, MC, O-403263 (Company Commanding Officer)
Captain Silvio A. Mattucci, MC, O-505999 (Treatment Section Leader)
Captain Roger E. Allen, MC, O-463489 (Treatment Section Leader)
On 9 August 1944, Companies A and C moved from their bivouac area 1 mile west of Bolgheri to join the rest of the Battalion 2½ miles east of Lari, Italy, where Company C established a Treatment Station. Company C remained in its bivouac some time supporting Division Reserve and furnishing medical aid for the Division Trains.
On 4 September 1944, Company C moved to a new location, 2 miles northeast of Pontedera on the Pontedera-Staffoli road, where it arrived at 1115 hours.
On 8 September 1944, notice was received by radiogram from Fifth United States Army, that Technical Sergeant Bertrum A. Adkins, 15047144, Company C, had been appointed Second Lieutenant MAC and assigned to the Battalion (now Second Lieutenant Bertrum A. Adkins, MAC, O-1695707).
On 11 September 1944, Company C, commanded by Captain Thomas A. Carrigan, MC, O-403263, Commanding Officer, moved further to an area two miles northeast of Pontedera, Italy, in support of Division Artillery.
At the end of the month of September 1944, the 1st Armored Division was relieved from IV Corps control and attached to the Fifth US Army. Only 147 battle casualties passed through the Treatment Stations. Heavy rains affected evacuation of patients.
On 1 October 1944, Company C was located near San Donato, Italy.
On 13 October 1944, Company C departed San Donato and traveled 20 miles to a new area one mile north of Rossano, Italy, where it established a Treatment Station in support of Division troops located in the area. Although casualties for the period were relatively light, the heavy rains created many problems for evacuation of patients. Swollen streams washed away some of the existing bridges.
During October 1944, Private First Class James S. Wyatt, 15047584, on temporary duty with Company C, departed as part of the rotation quota for September.
It should be stressed that our communication setup underwent a complete change following the Battalion re-organization. FM radio sets proved worthless as they were always required to operate beyond their range. For this reason radio communication within the Battalion elements did not prove practical. A new Battalion command net was therefore introduced and new procedures worked out. By establishing a Battalion Radio School where skills were taught by trained operators, and including extra personnel trained by the 141st Armored Signal Company and by the Signal Corps Radio Operator’s School, it was possible to remedy the situation. It was further recommended that the current radio apparatus be deleted from T/E of the 47th Armored Medical Battalion (short range) and replaced by better sets.
In order to improve the lack of space encountered by drivers and assistant drivers (ambulances and trucks) to store their personal equipment and clothing, a rack was designed and placed on top of all the ambulances and trucks with closed cabin within the Battalion. This measure did not lessen the efficiency and storage capacity of the vehicles. Due to the continuous movement of men and vehicles, it was often necessary to deadline vehicles for over a week because maintenance parts could not be obtained through normal supply channels.
It was through the initiative and foresight of Staff Sergeant Ernest W. Schibi, 38002484, Company C, who drew up the plans and received the necessary authorization for changes in specifications, that the inadequate black-out features, the lack of proper canvas reinforcements, the inefficient drainage of water, the reduced entrance space for litter carry, etc. were adequately solved and incorporated into the Surgical Truck Tents.
On 1 November 1944, Company C was still located one mile west of Rossano, Italy, in support of Division troops operating in the area.
On 16 November 1944, Lieutenant Colonel Morris R. Holtzclaw, MC, O-348716, Battalion Commanding Officer, was appointed Division Surgeon. He was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel James O. Gooch, MC, O-383647, following orders from Headquarters, 1st Armored Division, dated 14 November.
On 22 November 1944, Company C moved from its Rossano bivouac to a new area in the town of Sesto, Italy. A major improvement as it was possible to house all personnel in existing buildings which tended to increase morale and efficiency. Only 988 patients of all types passed through the different Treatment Stations operated by the Battalion. The overall task of evacuation, communication, and supply remained difficult because of the mountainous terrain, heavy rainfall, fog, and slippery roads.
On 29 November 1944, an extensive training program was launched for the three Companies of the 47th Armored Medical Battalion, focusing on physical conditioning and vehicle maintenance.
On 30 November 1944, Staff Sergeant Everett J. Jacoway, 39076760, Company C, and Technician 5th Grade Leonard T. Twidt, 37111846, Company C, departed from the Battalion as part of the October rotation quota.
On 1 December 1944, Company C was still stationed in the Sesto area where it continued to support Division Reserve and Division Trains.
On 3 December 1944, one Section of Company C, commanded by Captain Thomas A. Carrigan, MC, O-403263, consisting of 4 Officers and 34 Enlisted Men moved into Monzuno to establish a Treatment Station in support of CCB. During this move the unit was subjected to intense enemy shellfire with several ambulances being hit but no personnel casualties.
On 28 December 1944, the Section of Company C operating in the Sesto area (in support of CCB), moved back to join the rest of the Company, in preparation for another movement.
On 29 December 1944, Company C, under command of Captain T. A. Carrigan, moved by infiltration from the Sesto area to the vicinity of Lucca, Italy, where it joined Company A already set up in the area.
An important change took place whereby Companies A and C were reduced to a single Section.
During December 1944, a total of 1026 patients of all types were treated at the Companies’ Stations.
A number of Enlisted Men departed from the Battalion as part of the November rotation. They included: Sergeant Walter C. Morris, 36075526, Company C, Corporal William E. Schinleber, 36302186, Company C, Technician 5th Grade Kenneth R. Compton, 36075600, Company C, and Technician 4th Grade Anthony P. Radosevich, 37112048, Company C.
January 1945, during the entire month, the 1st Armored Division (except one tank and one field artillery battalion) was held in reserve in the Lucca area in view of the ever present threat of German attacks through the Serchio Valley. An extensive training program was set up and carried out by all the Companies of the Battalion.
On 3 January 1945, Captain Silvio A. Mattucci, MC, O-505999, Company C, was released from assignment and transferred to the 2675th Overhead Regiment, USAAF, following special orders from Headquarters, Fifth US Army, dated 29 December 1944.
On 5 January 1945, Private First Class José H. Salinas, 39155705, Company C, was relieved from duty to temporary duty to the Zone of Interior, and ordered to report to the 7th Replacement Depot.
By the end of the month all Companies were now operating with a single Treatment Section, except Company B which still operated two Sections.
Between 1 February 1945 – 17 February 1945, correction of deficiencies within the Battalion were corrected. Training in radio-telephone procedure was carried out, and physical conditioning, first echelon vehicle maintenance, and aspects of general medical and surgical technique covered.
On 3 February 1945, the Battalion was awarded the Meritorious Unit Service Award, with streamer embroidered “European Theater”, which entitled members of the unit to wear the Meritorious Service patch on the lower sleeve of the right arm.
On 18 February 1945, one half of Company C moved from its current bivouac to a new area at Lagaro, Italy.
On 19 February 1945, the remaining part of Company C, accompanied by Headquarters & Headquarters Company, departed from Lucca and moved to a new site in the vicinity of Prato, Italy.
On 21 February 1945, the Section of Company C moved from Prato to a new area near Catiglione, Italy, where it arrived at 1520 hours.
On 25 February 1945, the following named Enlisted Men were returned to the Zone of Interior on rotation during the month of February. They included Staff Sergeant John Bialaus, 33021122, Company C, and Corporal Franklin W. Moyer, 33075299, Company C.
On 28 February 1945, the Section received some enemy artillery shells but sustained no casualties. One ambulance and one truck were slightly damaged by fragments.
The 47th Armored Medical Battalion, 1st Armored Division, United States Army, was awarded the Meritorious Service Unit Plaque for superior performance of duty in the accomplishment of exceptionally difficult tasks in Italy during the period 1 March 1944 to 31 May 1944 (ref Section VI, General Order No. 8, Headquarters, 1st Armored Division dated 3 February 1945).
During February 1945 a total of 721 patients of all types were treated at the Companies’ Stations.
On 1 March 1945, Company C was located near Castiglione, while its Section was near Lagaro, Italy.
On 14 March 1945, the 47th Armored Medical Battalion was re-organized under T/O & E 8-78 dated 21 November 1944.
During the entire period, Company C furnished the required medical support to all Division units operating in the forward area, where they were patrolling aggressively and protecting the left flank of II Corps.
Following orders, some Enlisted personnel, including Private First Class August Schats, 38027254, Company C, were relieved from assignment and transferred on rotation to the 7th Replacement Depot for transshipment to the Zone of Interior.
Company B was now also reduced to a single Treatment Section.
In March 1945, a formal award and presentation of 342 Good Conduct Medals was made, and 112 Motor Vehicle Driver and Mechanic Badges awarded (97 Driver Qualification Bars and 15 Mechanic Qualification Bars).
On 4 April 1945, the Section of Company C at Castigliano, moved back to the rear and took over the bivouac site Company B had left near Le Querce. Company C was to take a period of rest and preparation for the forthcoming attack.
On 12 April 1945, Company C left the old bivouac and moved by motor convoy to a new site located one mile south of Pte di Verzuno. All units were warned that D-Day for the attack was to be 13 April 1945. Company B would support the initial attack by CCB, and Company C would follow. In case CCA would first go into action, then Company C would support it. All depended on success and speed. However, as things worked out, Company C was put in reserve.
On 18 April 1945, Company C, less its Section, left its area and moved to a new area 1½ miles northeast of Tole, Italy, which it reached at 1115 hours.
On 19 April 1945, the Section of Company C joined the parent unit. Shells hit all around during the night but caused no casualties.
On 21 April 1945, Company C closed its Treatment Station and moved toward Ponzano, where it was later joined by Headquarters & Headquarters Company and Company B.
On 22 April 1945, Company C departed the bivouac area and moved on to Stiore, and further to the vicinity of S. Castelfranco.
On 23 April 1945, after receiving alarming reports from Italian Partisans that the enemy was advancing to the Company area, Company C loaded and was about to leave S. Castelfranco when an ambulance with a load of casualties came in. Before all the patients were treated, more ambulances arrived, bringing in American and German casualties and wounded Partisans. When Company C was finally ready to move, approximately 40 wounded had been treated at the roadside including a young Italian boy who had lost a leg two weeks before in an air raid. The Company finally departed the site and arrived at a new location one mile east of Campagaliano, after traveling a distance of 35 miles in a roundabout way. In the afternoon, a report was received from Italian Partisans that enemy infantry was advancing from the southwest in the direction of the Company area. The men therefore packed immediately and moved forward so that protection from Division units could be depended on. They bivouacked that night on the outskirts of Corregio.
On 24 April 1944, Company C left Corregio for a new location some 17 miles away.
On 25 April 1945 a special detachment of Company C, consisting of 3 Officers and 25 Enlisted Men was selected to support a “flying column” under Colonel Hamilton H. Howze which was to advance to Piacenza. This Section under command of Captain Thomas A. Carrigan, MC, O-403263, left at 0830 the same day. The rest of Company C was to stay in the rest area until the action was either completed or stopped, but when the column ran into difficulty at the starting line, it was necessary to bring them in to relieve the strain caused by the enemy. The multiple advances and stops extended the mileage to such an extent that an average of 534 miles per Company was reported for April alone. After clashes with the enemy, the Treatment Section was closed and moved about 10 miles toward Piacenza on the main road. The group was finally turned around returning to Serbole as the mission of TF Howze had been called off. German ambulances were bringing in many casualties by the score which caused quite a strain on the Battalion’s medical services.
In nearly all bivouacs, except for Company C which was operating with TF Howze, all installations were in canvas tents. It was indeed much easier to put up a tent than to find a suitable house or building with a good location, enough space for tent pitching, and space to park the vehicles. The houses available were mostly former German or Italian barracks and were too filthy to bother cleaning for a bivouac that would last only one or two days. In the case of a “flying column” such as TF Howze, it was much easier to set up in a house because of the added protection from small arms fire.
On 26 and 27 April 1945, Company C continued its advance, finally reaching a new bivouac in the vicinity of Castiglione. It left the area rather soon advancing for another 12 miles. Rapid advance involved more risks, as we sometimes moved through areas still occupied by enemy troops, which forced us to keep our patients in the ambulances, until a secure location and enough time could be found to allow for a stop and medical treatment.
On 28 April 1945, Company C left Ghedi moving toward an area near Brivio, Italy, where it closed at 1900 hours.
On 1 May 1945, Company C was located near Brivio, together with Headquarters & Headquarters Company.
On 2 May 1945, Company C left its bivouac near Brivio and arrived at a new area in Vercelli, Italy. The same day, Battalion received the wonderful news that the Germans in Italy had surrendered!
On 3 May 1945, Company C left its area and moved into the group of barracks with Headquarters & Headquarters Company, one mile east of Vercelli, Italy.
On 18 May 1945, Company C departed from Vercelli and moved to Alassio, Italy, traveling a distance of 138 miles.
During this period Redeployment and Readjustment of personnel took an important part of the time spent off duty. Military occupation of the recently liberated area of Italy required some additional planning and re-organization. Some Battalion Officers were relieved from duty and transferred to the Zone of Interior, while others were returned to the United States for rotational purposes. A number of promotions were also confirmed.
When there was time, I often checked after chow to see whether there were enough food leftovers which I would bring to some poor families in the neighborhood. There were some rather funny anecdotes involving locals who suddenly discovered “colored” troops roaming around. They didn’t seem to be accustomed to see such soldiers in the surroundings, although quite a few colored infantry and primarily service troops were stationed in Italy.
Company C Staff – 47th Armored Medical Battalion (dated 31 May 1945)
Captain Thomas A. Carrigan, MC, O-403263 (Company Commander)
Captain James V. Lorenzo, MC, O-406268 (Section Leader)
Early June 1945, the Companies of the 47th Armored Medical Battalion lay deployed over the western reaches from Milano to the Ligurian Coast, Italy. All units were largely engaged in training, recuperation, and preparation of future movement toward separation from the service… the topic of the day being return to the Zone of Interior and Discharge!
I ended up on the Ligurian Coast, at Alassio, Italy, one of the rivieras and a Fifth US Army Rest Center. We spent a month there, enjoying some rest and recreation, amassing souvenirs, taking pictures, and were kept busy with basic care and inoculations of N-P cases, as well as giving plenty of immunization shots to military personnel being returned to the Zone of Interior for either transfer to the Pacific Theater or for Discharge. We remained in Italy for about 2 months following V-E Day, and were promised to be shipped out soon, by aircraft, so we wouldn’t have to travel by boat… We finally got the word and moved to Pisa Airport, where we boarded a B-17 bomber on 30 July 1945, flying to Dakar (French West Africa) where we spent the night. The following day we transferred onto a C-54 cargo/passenger aircraft with destination Natal (Brazil). Due to some big hurricane we had to stay put for three days, before flying out to Atkinson (British Guiana), from where continued our journey to Borinquen (Puerto Rico), and finally arrived in Miami (Florida). At the end of hostilities in Europe, Miami became one of the 3 termini in Florida for the “Green Project” (which started in Jun 45), transport of overseas aircraft and personnel returning from overseas theaters in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to the United States via the so-called South Atlantic Route (later supplemented by a naval sealift –ed). Upon arrival, this was 5 August 1945, the first thing I did was call my folks to let them know I was home! The next morning we entrained for Fort Dix, New Jersey, to start the discharge process. The first family member I met was my brother Peter who served as an MP at Fort Dix. We were able to meet during processing at the Separation Center (he came to see me at the visitors’ center and brought along my Dad).
I was finally home. The next journey I was back in Brooklyn, New York, and civvy street!
Personal Ranks Obtained
Private First Class
Technician 5th Grade
Army Good Conduct Medal (ref GO No. 2, 47th Armd Med Bn, dated 3 May 43)
American Campaign Medal
European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
Bronze Star Medal
Personal Battle & Campaign Awards
Tunisia (period 17 Nov 42 > 13 May 44)
Naples-Foggia ( period 9 Sep 43 > 21 Jan 44)
Rome-Arno (period 22 Jan 44 > 9 Sep 44)
North Apennines (period 10 Sep 44 > 4 Apr 45)
Pô Valley (period 5 Apr 45 > 9 May 45)
I faithfully served in the Army of the United States from 3 March 1942 up to 12 August 1945. Following the convenience of the United States Government and application of Regulations RR 1-1, I was officially and honorably discharged at Fort Dix Separation Center, Wrightstown, New Jersey 12 August 1945. My sweetheart Vivian remained utterly loyal to me during my service years and sent me numerous letters. We finally got married on 21 October 1945.
The MRC Staff are truly grateful for the many data and pictures kindly provided by Technician 5th Grade Anthony S. D’Angelo (ASN:32221673) who served with Company C, 47th Armored Medical Battalion, from 25 May 1942 to 12 August 1945 during World War Two. We are looking for more data related to the final operations of the Battalion in the ETO and its return to the United States. A complete personnel roster would also be most welcome, if available. Thank you.