Monday, May 27, 2013
Tony Farina in the 518th Port Battalion
Last month I got an email from Tony Farina. He found my blog while he was looking up his old unit from WWII. Tony served in an Army port company just like my grandfather. His 518th Port Battalion and my grandfather’s 519th Port Battalion were both on Utah Beach for the Normandy invasion. Tony's job was to drive trucks from the beach to supply dumps further inland.
By July the French port of Cherbourg had been liberated and made operational. Tony’s company was sent there where he worked guard duty until December of 1944. When the Allies were surprised by the German’s Ardennes Offensive service troops were asked to volunteer for combat. Tony was on the front lines in the Battle of the Bulge for just two days when he got wounded. It was bad enough to send him to the hospital, but not so bad that he was sent home. After Germany surrendered Tony was shipped to Japan. He was in Okinawa in a military police (MP) battalion for just a few weeks when Japan finally surrendered.
The oddest thing about Tony is that he lives just a couple blocks from my grandfather’s old house in Rotterdam, New York. In fact, my mom remembers playing with Tony’s children. For decades these two men were in the same neighborhood, not realizing that they were both port company veterans who had trained in the same camp and served on the same beach in Normandy!
You can read more about Tony’s 518th Port Battalion in this post.