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Tracing my 1st Ranger dad - Gela to Nice to Oslo

Discussion in 'Italy, Sicily & Greece' started by wooley12, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. wooley12

    wooley12 Active Member

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    September 12, 1943. 75 years ago tonight the 1st Ranger Btn moved out of Gela and up the dirt road to capture the walled town if Butera. As my father remembered it, as 1st section riflemen in Co "C", he and Robert Olesen where the first Rangers into the town. LIFE magazine had a good accounting by a war correspondent who was there.

    https://books.google.com/books…
     
  2. wooley12

    wooley12 Active Member

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    September 21 1943. 75 years ago today The 1st Btn was fighting to hold the Chiunzi Pass into Naples against a much larger German force. "C" Co was ordered out onto an exposed mound in what was described in a book by a ranger who was there as a "Bad Action". A letter to my dad in hs papers spoke of getting 'the truth out" about that day. From across the valley a German 88 opened up and started walking shells closer and closer until one dropped onto the men in the first rifle section and then stopped firing. Pfc Lindsay died instantly. Sgt Bunde, Pfc Rieker and Pvc Paskavan wouldn't survive their wounds. Pfc Gorski was hit by shrapnel in his butt and listed as "wounded - not hospitalized". He was treated by Doc Sommers who pulled him off the line and into the 1st Btn HQ Medical unit as "His driver". The way dad told me the story, the doc and he were talking and when the doc found out that dad was a good golfer he said "You're a golfer too!! Yo aren't going back to the front, you can be my driver." The way I see it is this. 37% of the casualties in Italy at the time were psychiatric. Dad was was cracking and the doc needed to break the bond with his band of brothers by creating another one. Dad was with Sommers for the duration.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
  3. wooley12

    wooley12 Active Member

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  4. wooley12

    wooley12 Active Member

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    Hosp Discharge 2_6_45.jpg Hosp Discharge 2_6_45.jpg This hospital discharge after treatment for "Cardiac Arrythmia - In the Line of Duty" dated 2/6/45 begs a question. Dad was pulled off the line on after getting some shrapnel from a German 88 in his buttox as a Ranger on 9/21/43 and moved from Rifleman to Truck Driver as his MOS shows.Seems the PTSD was still an issue. On the other hand, he was with the same doc that pulled him out through the FSSF and into the 474th who had taken dad under his wing. Dads CMB date is the same as the date of a hospital discharge while in the FSSF. and I do watch a lot of MASH reruns.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  5. wooley12

    wooley12 Active Member

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    Well Christmas has come early to this Ranger historian. I have gained access to view all of the Morning Reports for all of the Ranger battalions in WWII. I have never seen any other morning reports to compare I'm still not sure of what some of the abbreviations mean but to say they make interesting reading for me is an understatement. Quite a number of men moving from duty to sick and back to duty. Duty to AWOL to duty. AWOL to MIA. MIA to KIA. AWOL to Deserter to Court marshal. Private accidently shoots himself in the chest at 2:30 in the morning with his rifle.

    The records were acquired through a donation to the Descendants of World War II Rangers, Inc, and protocol speaks against "pirating" and for "Honor"
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
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  6. wooley12

    wooley12 Active Member

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    Well, one question answered My question was "Where was Pfc John Gorski on 7/9/43 during the invasion of Sicily at Gela?" On 6/29/43 while loading onto the AST USS Dickman, a mortor round in the back pack of Pfc Reid exploded killing Reid and wounding 20 other Ranges including my dad who had a hand wound. The answer is that he was temporarily transferred from 1st Btn "C" Co to the 1st Btn HQ. on 7/4 along with 4 others who were injured in the incident. He was returned to Co C on 8/1 in Corleone where the Rangers would continue training until the invasion of the Italian mainland at Maori on 9/9/43. During the campaign through Sicily, the total casualties from Co. C was 5 WIA.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  7. wooley12

    wooley12 Active Member

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    The MR's have shown me everywhere my father was from his Ranger training to the disbandment of the 1st and 3rd battalions after they were wiped out at Cisterna. My new project is to find where he was on Google Earth when the German 88 walked a shell into his platoon and caused the surgeon who took the shrapnel out of his buttocks to treat him for PTSD by moving him from being a rifleman in C Co.to a driver iwith the HQ medical unit. I've narrowed it down to within 1 kilometer from here. My next step is to look for info from this Axis forum about the artillery defenses of Naples.

    Axis History Forum - Index page

    This is the crest of the Chiunzi Pass overlooking Naples. The lightly armed Rangers were pinned down and waiting for the invasion forces to catch up and relieve them. I believe that one of the buildings is what was called Ft Shuster. A name given to a church being used as a forward HQ and hospital.

    Ft Shuster.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
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  8. wooley12

    wooley12 Active Member

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    Been a year since I've updated

    January 23 1944. 76 years ago the 700 men of 1st and 3rd battalion were being marched to Rome as POW's to be paraded through the city before continuing on the POW camps. The 1st and 3rd Ranger Btns were no more. According to the Morning Reports, on Jan 20, 1944 after he was done loading equipment and men onto the HMS Princess Beatrix at Lucrino, Italy, Pfc John Gorski was reported as " fr dy to DS Rear Ech " and soon after he went to see his brother Stan who was in the AAF stationed with the 449th Bomb Group in Grottaglie, Italy. On Jan 29, John is back with 1st HQ at Campo di Carne. On Jan 30, 6 officers and 39 enlisted are recorded on the Morning Report as MIA
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020

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