On this day especially, I always think of my father and his best friend Andy Giannotti. They both served in B Battery, 324th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm), 83d Infantry Division; Andy as a Section Chief and my father as the hydraulic maintenance Tech 4 for the four guns in the battery. They met in November of 1942 at Camp Atterbury when the division was mobilized for training and became the best of friends.
The 83d landed on Omaha Beach on D plus 12 and a few days later relieved the 101st Airborne at Carentan. Around 1200 on July 9th while firing in support of the attack on Sainteny, a small town south of Carentan, interdictory fire landed near one of the guns. Shell fragments killed Andy and two other cannoneers and seriously wounded my father who spent six months recuperating in England before rejoining the 83d just after the Battle of the Bulge in late January 1945.
Andy's death was so painful for him that he never mentioned it to me or my brother. It was only after my father's death when I began researching his WWII service that I learned of the close bond he had with Andy. One of my father's other close friends, Lou Volpe, who served as the maintenance Tech in A Battery, told me about their friendship as did Joe Harrington, a B Battery ammo Corporal who was one of the people who helped load my Dad into the litter jeep for the trip to the aid station.
God Bless all our veterans, especially those who gave up all their tomorrows for our today.
Memorial to Samuel J. Bifano's, WWII service.
Rounds Complete, Mission Accomplished
This song was sung by the West Point Glee Club at the end of the movie "We Were Soldiers"
Mansions of the Lord