Posted Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
BATTLE RAGED IN EUROPE FROM DEC. 16-JAN. 25, 1945
Also known as the Ardennes Campaign, this was one of Germany’s last counteroffensives — an attempt to defeat the Allies at the Ardennes Forest, to split American and British armies, and perhaps force a negotiated peace. The Allies won this brutal battle but at a high cost of life: More than 19,000 American troops killed in action, 48,000 wounded, and 21,000 taken as prisoner or missing in action.
“As we celebrate this holiday season as a free nation, in the warmth and comfort of our homes and with our families and friends, let’s remember the sacrifices made by these brave soldiers, many of whom gave their lives, during a holiday season not that long ago and which helped to make our freedom possible,” said Morris County Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo.
No part of our country was spared from the grief of the Battle of the Bulge. The list below provides the names of those brave men from Morris County who fought in that battle during the holiday season 71 years ago, along with a few highlights of some of those brave men.
Ralph C. Baird: Hanover — Enlisted at Newark on May 15, 1941 as a Private in the United States Army. Sergeant Baird of the 89th CAV RCN SQ MECZ was killed in action at the Battle of the Bulge on December 30, 1944. His last known residence was in Hanover Township. Sergeant Baird is buried in Hanover Cemetery.
Russell A. Benigno: Chatham–Morris County Distinguished Medal recipient Nov.11, 2001. Honors: Purple Heart, Bronze Star. Deceased 2012. He was a prisoner of war.
Charles Christian Bentz: Madison — Morris County Distinguished Service Medal recipient 2001. Deceased 2002.
Sam F. Cimaglia: Madison — Morris County Medal, 2001. Deceased 2015.
Charles H. Collinson: Madison — Morris County Medal, 2001. Deceased 2005.
Frederick Walker Castle: Born in the Philippines, his family settled in Mountain Lakes and he attended Boonton High School. He was a graduate of West Point, class of 1930. On Christmas Eve 1944, Castle was shot down over Belgium in a B-17G “Treble Four” while leading history’s largest airstrike during the Battle of the Bulge.
He crashed his Flying Fortress still carrying its payload, rather than dump it on civilians and Allied troops. He also kept his plane in the air long enough to allow most of his crew to escape before he was killed. He was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Croix de Guerre, Legion of Honor, and Order of Kutuzov. Merced Army Airfield in Merced, California was re-named Castle Air Force Base in his honor on Jan. 13, 1948.
Stephen R. Corsello: Chatham — Morris County Medal. Deceased 2007.
Orlando “Londy” De Pascale: Wharton — Morris County Medal Sept. 11, 2013. The Italian-born Army veteran served with the 269th Engineer Combat Battalion, 69th Infantry Division. He served in the Rhineland, Central Europe, and the Middle East/Africa. Deceased 2014.
Anthony “Uncle Spagy” F. Falduto: Montville — New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal, April 5, 2001; Veteran of the Year, 2008; Bronze Star; Purple Heart. Fought in France and Germany. Served under Gen George Patton. His speech when accepting the Veteran of the Year award November, 2008 in part: “We fought in France, Germany, in the Battle of the Bulge. Our mother would often say to us that those who give, will receive and I will treasure this award as long as I live. God bless you, Mom, wherever you are.” In 2014, Mr. Falduto at age 98, served as a member of the Color Guard during Morristown’s Veterans Day ceremonies. Honored by the Montville Township Committee on Dec. 7, 2015 for his 100th. He died Feb. 22, 2016.
Martin “Marty” O. Fleisher: Long Valley — Flew 65 missions in Europe, most in a B-26B “Mama Liz”. A first generation American, Mr. Fleisher wanted to fly since he first saw an airplane in 1925. He recalled telling his grandmother “I will fly one of those someday.” On Dec. 14 of this year, 2016, Mr. Fleischer was awarded “Long Valley’s Senior Citizen of the Year” award.
Three Madison soldiers, Robert L. Hogeman Jr., William P. Reddert and John O. Stoddard, died together. At the request of their families, they were buried side-by-side at Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in St. Avold, France. They had all belonged to the same Boy Scout Troop, Number 25 in Madison.
PFC Robert L. Hogeman, Jr.: Posthumous Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He was killed on Dec. 18, 1944. Plot D Row 45, Grave 18.
PFC John O. Stoddard: Posthumous Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He was killed in action on Dec. 24, 1944. Plot D Row 45 Grave 19
PFC William P. Reddert: Posthumous Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He was killed in action on Dec. 24, 1944. Plot D Row 45 Grave 20.
Joseph Johnson: Budd Lake. Private Johnson was attached to the 309 INF, 78th DIV, Co. L when he succumbed to wounds received in action. Died at age 24 in 1945. Buried in Stanhope Union Cemetery. Posthumous Purple Heart.
Frank O. Kaenrath: Succasunna — He enlisted in the Army in 1942 and trained as an aircraft mechanic in Texas. He requested combat duty and was transferred to France and participated in the Battle of the Bulge. He received three Bronze Stars and Unit Citations, and in 2015 received a Morris County Medal. He declined the Purple heart saying others were more worthy. Deceased 2015.
Sydney Levit: Morris Plains. Morris County Medal Aug. 13, 2008. Sydney served with the Army’s 17th Airborne Division which saw action in the Battle of the Bulge. His unit started with 140 men but only 16 survived. After recovering from frozen hands and feet, he was assigned to Glider Duty; the gliders were made of canvas and held 13 men. His team liberated a concentration camp where the Germans had killed all of the Russian soldiers before the Americans arrived. Sydney received the Purple Heart, the WWII Victory Medal; and the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars and 1 Bronze Arrowhead. He now spends half the year in Florida and half in Morris Plains.
Louis “Ken” Kenneth Mooney: Born in Landing. Last known address was Madison — Morris County Medal 2001. Deceased 2005.
Robert “Bob” Newhouse: Florham Park — Morris County Medal, 2009. Last known living in 2010.
Wesley Frederick Pollard: Chatham — Morris County Medal Nov. 11, 2001. Deceased 2012.
Joseph H. Quade: Montville — He enlisted in the Army in 1943 and was assigned to the 17th Airborne Division, serving in Europe and earning three Campaign ribbons. He received a Morris County Medal in 2001. He was an original founder of the 17th Airborne Division Association and organized about 20 pilgrimages for World War II veterans to places where they trained and fought. Last known living, 2013.
Carroll William Allan (CW) Roleson: Morristown-Denville — Posthumous Morris County Medal. Mr. Roleson was killed in action during the Battle of the Bulge, January 16, 1945 and was awarded the Medal of Valor and the Purple Heart. He received recognition from President Roosevelt which stated, “He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom may live, and grow and increase its blessing. Freedom lives and through it , he lives in a way that humbles the understanding of most men.” Mr. Roleson was raised in Denville and is buried in Sparta. A street in Denville was named after him.
Joseph P. Romano: Madison — Morris County Medal 2001; New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal, July 15, 2003; Bronze Star; Purple Heart. Deceased 2014.
Peter D. Santella: Roxbury — One of “The Six Fighting Santella Brothers,” Peter was wounded in the ankle during the Battle of the Bulge. All the Santella brothers came home, all got married, and had a total of 17 children. (Santella Brothers: Anthony “Tony”; Carmine, Gratzella “Razzie”, Pat “Patsy”, Peter and Raymond “Rags”)
Nicholas “Uncle Nick” A. Sena, Sr.: Madison — Morris County Distinguished Service Medal, 2001. Deceased 2010.
Benjamin “Benny” G. Signorelli: Morris Plains. Died January 12, 1945, succumbing to wounds suffered in battle.
Also, please click on the following link to get more information on the Morris County’s Veterans’ Office or to offer information on any of the veterans listed above.