Only once during the whole time Joe Cigich fought his way through Europe with Gen. Omar Bradley’s 9th Army during World War II was he shot at by the enemy.
The 14th Armored Division arrived in Marseille, France, on Oct. 29, 1944, and went into battle two weeks later at Maritime Alps along the French-Italian border under Maj. Gen. Vernon Pritchard as part of the 7th Army. Sgt. Paul Cearlock, who now lives in the Foxwood condominiums, Englewood, Fla., was the commander of a Sherman…
Former Sgt. Clyde Housel of Port Charlotte, Fla. found himself in the snow and cold huddled in a foxhole along the Siegfried Line searching for Germans to shoot with his 1903 Springfield sniper rifle and scope on Dec. 16, 1944. He was a 1st Army sniper.
Louis Basso of Venice, Fla. was a 155 mm gunner who served in Battery A, 258th Field Artillery Battalion attached to Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army that fought the Germans across France and into the “Fatherland” during World War II.
Bill Tannatt of Englewood, Fla. and Milton Dorr of Worcester, Mass., started out as members of the Yankee Division, the Massachusetts National Guard’s 26th Infantry Division, and ended up in the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division of the 5th Army during World War II.
A couple of months after D-Day, 2nd Lt. Harold Hewitt of Port Charlotte, Fla. landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, with the 252nd Engineers Battalion, part of Gen. William “Tex” Simpson’s 9th Army fighting in Europe during World War II.
Fred Winterbottom has been a soldier for most of his 92 years. Winterbottom, who lives at the Village on the Isles retirement complex in Venice, Fla. with his wife, Gwen, saw service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Eugene Pentiuk joined the Michigan National Guard in 1939 on a dare from a buddy. They signed up shortly after graduating from high school in Pontiac, Mich. He and his friend trained for a year in the Louisiana wilds as members of the 32nd Infantry Division.
1st Sgt. Jim Tankersley, who lives in Brookside Bluff Condominium Park north of Arcadia, Fla. was in charge of ground communications for the 95th Infantry Division’s artillery battalion. He and a squad of 25 soldiers laid and maintained the phone cables connecting division headquarters with front line troops during some of the major battles in Europe in World War II.
Ralph Coffin fought all across Europe during World War II with the 274th Armored Artillery Battalion, part of Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army. He landed in Normandy on Aug. 19, 1944 at St. Mere L’Eglise and fought from there to Avaranches and on to the Muese River by Sept. 1 and then to the famed fort at Verdun held by the Germans.
Bert Rockower was a corporal in the 9th Army that landed on Omaha Beach five months after D-Day during World War II. By then U.S. troops had advanced across France and liberated Paris. American forces were at the Siegfried Line, the massive concrete and steel fortification protecting Germany’s Western Front.