What better intro than to have his own daughter's words...
Honoring Men Who Made a Difference
For years I would ask my father about his experiences in WWII and I would get a vague answer or the subject would be changed within a couple of minutes. I never understood why he didn't want to talk about the details of his service in WWII. In the past year I have read many articles and realize the toll WWII put on our families and our country I have a little more insight. I'm not saying that my dad wasn't proud of what he personally accomplished, not at all. He spoke highly of the Combat Engineers and how they built their projects sometimes under extreme adverse conditions. So, with the few stories I have from my dad and a few items he carefully saved I am creating a spot for the 344th Engineer General Service Regiment of WWII. Feel free to contact me about your relative and his service in the 344th.
On my dad's discharge paper it reads Nicholas J. Mastrangelo Sergeant, Company C 35th Engineer Combat Battalion. Given at Separation Center Fort Devens, Mass; 25 September 1945.
Janet Mastrangelo Dane
In memory of Nicholas Joseph Mastrangelo
June 18, 1917 - April 6, 2006
Received: Good Conduct Medal and European African Middle Eastern Theatre Campaign Ribbon with a Bronze Service Arrowhead
Campaigns included: Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe
Company "A", 344th Engineer General Service Regiment
Camp Claiborne, Louisiana Captain Henry J. Wright, Commanding
Note: Click on each photo for an enlargement in a separate window
Photo #1 left to right
My dad, Nick is in the third row from the bottom, 10th soldier from the left....
List of Engineers at top of photo...
Front row, left to right:
Pvt. Batts, Edgar D.; Pvt. Balcam, George F.; Pvt. Hirshkowitz, Edward; Pvt. Owen, Charles Jr.; Pt. Lockwood, Clay A.; Pvt. Guzey, Walter; Pvt. Cochran, Thomas C.; Pvt. Redpath, James F.; Pvt. Turner, Robert L.; Pvt. Mc Guire, John F.; Pvt. Black, William W.; Cpl. Gilman, Jack M.; Pvt. Rutherford, Lyle J.; Sgt. Ols, Leonard L.; Sgt. Hattabaugh, Melvin W.; St Sgt. LaVase, George A.; Lt. Alusp; Capt. Wright, Henry J.; Lt. Kennedy; 1st Sgt. Bell, John; St. Sgt. Malone, Ben W.; St Sgt. Horan, Michael H.; Sgt. Pankiewicz, John M.; Cpl. Shelton, Von E.; Pvt. Szymaniak, Casimir W.; Pvt. Goldstein, Herbert; Pvt. Rowell, Donald; Pvt. Eckart, William; Pvt. Kirkbride, William; Pvt. Brown, Barney A; Pvt. Silverman, Sidney; Pvt Parker, John I.; Pvt. Hawkins, Frank D.; Pvt Whittington, Joseph R.; Pvt. Duston, Leslie W; Pvt Pepin, Wilfrid L.; Pvt. Duncan, Leo M
Second Row, left to right
Pvt. Zdrowdroski, Joseph J.; Pvt. Stuvland, Wesley P.; Pvt. Schrader, Henry Jr.; Pvt. Hartle, Max; Pvt. Byrd, James P.; Pvt. Neal, William H.; Pvt. Stinson Zolan L.; Pvt Pulliam, Charlie T.; Pvt. Ipock, Johnnie F.; Pvt. Dafler, Floyd P.; Pvt. Moss, Lemuel S.; Pvt. Lancaster, Frank A.; Pvt. Spieker, Lloyd J.; Pvt. Corcoran, James H.; Pvt. Pearl, Howard; Pvt. Parento, Kenneth V.; Pvt. Simihal, Steve Jr.; Pvt. Bellm, Harry F.; Pvt. Lundquest, Fred E.; Pvt. Zehner, Frank R.; Pvt. Erickson, Arthur W.; Pvt. Miller, Walter W; Pvt. Burns, Robert E.; Pvt. Censullo, Angelo; Pvt. Maroney, John P.; Pvt. Cirelli, Angelo E.; Pvt Zemaitis, Anthony W.; Pvt. Bagnaro, Dominick; Pvt. Gibbs, James T.; Pvt. Maurice, Edward A.; Pvt. Garlan, Nicholas A.; Pvt. Battaglia, Paul F.; Pvt. Ainsworth, Avery J.; Pvt. Bohner, James; Pvt. Fluke, Loyd; Pvt. Barnes, Jacob S.; Pvt. Leming, John D.; Pvt. Martin, Randolph F; Pvt. Turner, Theron E.; Pvt. Burford, Robert L.; Pvt. Hoffman, Ralph T.; Pvt Hebert, Shirley J.
Third row, left to right
Pvt. Yetter, Loyd; Pvt. Evans, Wilber; Pvt. Howard, Dean B.; Pvt. Heldebrandt, Philip; Pvt. Kish, Joseph M.; Pvt. Ragsdale, Elgy M.; Pvt. Trock, John; Pvt. Macaione, James W.; Pvt. Richard, Joseph A.; Pvt. Mastrangelo, Nicholas; Pvt McElroy, Henry A.; Pvt. Bennett, G. A.; Pvt. Sencer, Holland E.; Pvt. Bacolini, August; Pvt. Lansing, Adolph G.; *Pvt. Rostedt, Paavo E.; Pvt. Proulx, Paul E.; Pvt. Fuller, John C.; Pvt. Winchell, Morris L.; Pvt. Stapinski, Edward; Pvt. Hall, William L.; Pvt. Aronovitz, Richard; Pvt. Schwotzer, Leonard; Pvt. Lynch, Ray B.; Pvt. Herndon John F.; Pvt. Ferrell, Willie; Pt. Najimy, Fred S.; Pvt. DePerri, Salvatore; Pvt. Cohen, Nathan; Pvt. Santomauro, Samuel; *Pvt. Cambria, Frank J.; Pvt. Glliland, William J.; Pvt. Whalen Thomas J.; Pvt. Bennett, Obed R.; *Pvt. Ficarra, Carmelo T.; Pvt. McGrath, John J.; Pvt. Craig, Walter L.; Pvt. Bauquier, Charles F.; Pvt. Newcomer, David W.; Pvt. Drake, Arnold F.; Pvt. Vizzie Rosario L.
Fourth row, left to right
Pvt. Szydlowski, Joseph J.; Pvt. Rigsbee, Percy D.; Pt. Blu, Howard S.; Pvt. Nelson John W.; Pvt. Emerick, Alphonse A.; Pvt. Box, Stanley W.; Pvt. Dudley William E.; Pvt. Paul, Daniel W.; Pvt. Allen, Bernis J.; Pvt. Day Raymond R.; Pvt. Fransen, William H.; Pvt. Fuerst, Robert; Pvt. Haggerty, Thomas A.; Pvt. Ritter, Shirley W.; Pvt. Swoik, George W.; Pvt. Oakley, Milton L.; Pvt. Simpson, Joe M.; Pvt. Kester, Fred W; Pvt. Ekstrand, Walter W.; Pvt. Duncan, Kenneth O.; Pvt. Swanson, John W.; Pvt. Baronepsky, Harry; Pvt. Larison, Clarence; *Pvt. Farley, Francis P.; Pvt. Welsh, James W.; Pvt. Patrowicz, Edward; Pvt. Honeyford, George J.; Pvt. Pratt, Francis F.; Pvt. Cook, Warren M.; Pvt. Olson, Herbert O.; Pvt. Rosenbaum, James A.; Pvt. Simansky, Aaron H.; Pvt. Gamble, Robert S.; Pvt. Cochnanuer, Green W.; Pvt. Pawuette, Jeffrey; Pvt. Reardon, Bernanrd A.; Pvt. Lynch, Vernon E.; Pvt. Stickney, Clarence O.; Pvt. Guptill, Neil G.; Pvt. Foote, Roger R.; Pvt. McLain, William E.; Pvt. Swisher, Harold E.; Pvt. Teel, William E.; Pvt Salo, Emory; Pvt. Thibodeaux, Cyrill; Pvt. LaFortune Joseph A.
* Men my father received Christmas cards from for many years after the war. Some as recent as 1999.
Travels in Nick's words regarding "The travels of 344th booklet"
This book shows the travels of the 344th Engineers through England, Africa, Italy, France, Germany and back to America. Company "A" of the 344th Engineers debarked on July 1, 1942 and arrived in Greenock, Scotland on July 14, 1942 aboard the SS Monterey. Many men were sea sick throughout the entire trip. After arriving in Grencok they traveled to Tidworth via train, which is due west of London. There they were staged to go to Aschurch where they laid thirty-one (31) miles of railroad track and switches at the Quarter Master depot. The first story from my dad was the meals of mutton. The men could not stomach this meat at all so my dad would send his men to barter or purchase 50lb bags of potatoes. Then he would talk the cooks into making the potatoes for his soldiers. They all lived off potatoes for quite a long time. The next stop was Salisbury where they laid in sewer pipe at a U.S. field hospital. On to Devises where they trained at a WWI Army Camp for the Africa Invasion, in Devises October 1942. They shipped out on January 1943 to Oran Africa on Board the H.M.Strthanaver, a 33,000 ton ship, via the North Atlantic to Oran. The 344th was still in Africa in June of 1943 where he met his cousin Lt. Guido Verrochi from Massachusetts. Guido tried to encourage Nick to take a promotion, but Nick said no he was sticking with his men and staying a Sergeant. By May 1944 they had traveled to Italy where he met Bob Highes, 88th division, a family friend from home. While in Italy he visited Sulmona, Abruzzo were his mother and father's family lived. He traveled with his buddy "Bucky" Richard Buxton of New Bedford Mass, walking and hitch hiking for a short weekend leave. On the way a jeep approached with a driver and an officer, but they did not realize he was an officer and continued walking, the jeep stopped short and the officer ripped into the soldiers for not saluting him. He then asked them were they were going, when they responded to visit relatives, he barked at them to get in the jeep. They both were surprised and appreciated the ride and later laughed about the incident. They arrived in Sulmona and when they inquired about Nick's family the "whole town" came out and treated them like royalty. Apparently the town of Sulmona did not have soldiers coming through and Bucky and Nick drew a large crowd "celebrating the Americans". They stayed with Nick's aunt that night and ate and ate falling asleep in "real" beds for the first time since traveling to Europe. The next morning they went to Nick's uncles house for breakfast (the families were fighting over entertaining) and stayed for a couple of hours. They then started the long walk back westerly through Southern Italy to their unit. In October of 1944 Nick was in Arches France and I believe spent the winter of 44-45 in France. When my dad came back to the US he made a vow that he would never camp or sleep on the ground again, nor wait in line at any restaurant. I guess he had enough of both in the three years serving his country.
Route of A Company 344th Engineer General Service Regiment During WWII
This is a map that I found with my fathers paperwork. The print is so small and being sixty-four years old I will do my best to get the names correct. On this map it states the 344th left July 1, 1942 and arriving July 12, 1942 (I believe July 14th is correct) in Greenock Scotland. February 1, 1943 to 1. Oran, 2. Chanzy, 3. Oran, 4. Sidi Chami, 5. Cap Matifou (west of Algiers), 6. Orleansville, 7. Sidi Chami, 8. Arzew, 9. Oran
Then traveled November 17, 1943 the Mediterranean Sea to 1. Naples Italy, 2. Bagnoli, 3. Capua, 4. Sparaise, 5. Capriotti, 6. Fornelli, 7. Isernna, 8. Roccamonfina, 9. Castleforte, 10. Coreno, 11. Vallecorsa, 12. Pastena, 13. Capenito, 14. Fraxcotti (near Rome), 15. Isole Farneses, 16. San Lorenzo, 17. Pitigliano, 18. Radicofani, 19. Civitavecchia, 20. Bagnoli, 21. Teano, 22. Pasestum, 23. Aversa, 24. Naples
Traveled the Mediterranean to 1. Agay France, 2. Les Puget, 3. Draguignan, 4. Sisteron, 5. Nirabea, 6. Romans, 7. La Verpilliere, 8. Poligny (cheese country), 9. Besancon, 10. D'Arches (paper plant), 11. Danzievieres, 12. Ogeviller, 13. Reding, 14. Dizuze, 15. Mariarviller, traveled into Germany, 16. Homburg, 17. Saussenheim, 18. Oggergheim, 19. Augsburg, back into France 20. Marseille, 21. Dainzievieres, 22. Lyon, 23. Calas in Southern France for staging to go to U.S.A.