Americans in Wartime Experience

Joseph D'Andrea

World War II

Joseph D’Andrea served in the United States Army during World War II.  He was born on November 12, 1923 in New York City.   After hearing about the attack on Pearl Harbor, Joseph went to Grand Central Station to volunteer for the US Army Air Corps When he arrived home, his mother informed him that there was a draft letter from the US Army. Joseph’s employer at that time gave him a letter to give to the Army.  He had been working on the Sperry Gyroscope M1 Anti-Aircraft which meant he had technical skills that could benefit the Army. His assignment was to the US Army Ordnance at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. He continued his training at the Army Range Finder and Height Finder Schools.

In 1942, troops were loaded onto a train from Baltimore to Norfolk, Virginia; upon arrival, they were loaded onto the Merchant Marine Troop ship Sea Perch. It took 10 days for 12 ships to cross the ocean, due to a zigzag course; most of the men were seasick and lived on Saltine crackers. The ships landed in the North Africa country of Tunisia. At that time, Joseph served in the 2618th Technical Supervision Division in the Ordnance Department.

Upon arrival in Tunisia at the replacement depot reassigned to A Company, 298th Infantry Battalion, 75th Infantry Division, the troops boarded a British troop ship to Italy, after some time there, the troops would again board a British troop ship and sail to Southern France. They began to move through France on their way Joseph stayed in a burnt out convent. He would sleep in a Farmer’s barn attic, in the hayloft he found a canteen cup that belong to a Private in WWI hanging from the rafters. When they departed the next day, the Frenchman said to Joe, “they were here, you are here and your sons will come back here”.

The Division would travel from Southern France into Belgium, sometimes they would travel in French Rail Freight train cars, in WWI they were called 40/8, 40 men or 8 horses, the Division would put 80 men in the train cars. One day Joseph heard a low humming sound that grew louder, he saw 400 to 500 aircraft filled the sky with B17 Flying Fortress bombers, P-51 Mustang fighters going east toward Germany.

General Eisenhower proclaimed those who had served in two theaters had points to return to the US. Joseph had served in North Africa and France, he had accumulated enough points; reassigned to an Artillery Company and went home by a troop ship. He returned to Grand Central Station in New York City and his Father, Mother, Brother and Sister were there to meet him.

Thank you for your service to our country Joseph.

Bio prepared by Rebeccah Christovich

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The Americans in Wartime Experience explores the impact of war and conflict on America since WWI. It honors those who served in the military and on the home front and highlights the values they demonstrated in serving – duty, honor, and courage. It examines how periods of conflict have profoundly shaped American society. It educates visitors about the costs of war, both on a personal and social level. It challenges visitors to remember the service and sacrifices made by their fellow citizens to preserve and defend our freedoms. LEARN MORE

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