Friday, March 12, 2010

Finding WWII Port Company Veterans

(Don Hartung posing with a molotov cocktail left by the fleeing Germans in Normandy, June 1944)

A major purpose of this blog is to find other 519th Port Bn. veterans or their families. Last month the son of Don Hartung emailed me. He found this site after researching his dad's WWII service online. I was able to share a few photos of Don that my grandfather took. Don passed away a few years back, but his son was able to share the addresses of some of Don's Army buddies. Today I mailed letters to Wallace Gilbert, Herbert Koller, John O'Connor, Melvin Schon, and John Stonestreet. Maybe some of these guys are still there, some might have moved, maybe their families are still at these addresses. We'll see!

The son of Benjamin "Benny" Papapietro got in touch with me this month. Benny was in the 279th Port Company, 519th Port Bn. I'm going to mail him a copy of the roster that lists his dad. Meanwhile, he gave me a link to a an article about a port company guy who served on Omah Beach. I'm interested in talking to any WWII port company men, so I'll be sending Gaetano Benza a letter too.

Last week I found the blog of a port company veteran who served in the 518th Port Battalion. Solomon Fein was on Utah Beach doing the same work as my grandfather's battalion. I've talked to him a few times, and we're exchanging photos and documents.

Irving Sugarman found my blog last year, as did the daughter-in-law of Mike DeLaura. Both of these guys were in the 304th Port Company. We have talked quite a bit since then. The first veterans I found were Bruce Kramlich and Dave Weaver. I found them listed on the 519th Transportation Association website. They then put me in touch with all their Army buddies.

So! If you are interested in researching your dad or grandfather's WWII service. I highly recommend starting a blog. By discussing the unit and where it served, vets or other resourceful people will find you. I don't know how I would have done this research in pre-internet days!

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