Thursday, May 23, 2019

Great Uncle Albert

Private First Class Albert J. Dentino (and friend),
K Company, 3rd Battalion, 328th Infantry Regiment,
26th Infantry Division, 3rd Army, ETO
14 Dec 1921 - 10 Dec 1944
Killed in Action in France at 22 years of age

Photo courtesy of Kris in New England
To the United States Army he was PFC Dentino, no doubt his buddies called him Al. He was a son, a brother, and to a dear friend of mine and her husband, he is remembered as Great Uncle Albert.

He enlisted in January of 1941, he was a member of the famous 26th Infantry Division, a unit created from various New England National Guard units. A unit which saw service in both World War I and World War II. Some of the facts of the division's participation in World War II are as follows:
After two months of bitter combat, the weary YD infantry had earned a respite from the fight. On 9 December, news reached the foxhole soldiers of an impending relief, and that night, the 87th Division began moving into the area of the 26th. The 101st Regiment was the first unit to be relieved (10 Dec.) departing immediately from the XII Corps sector, proceeding to Metz. On 11 December the 104th Infantry followed. With the relief of the 101st and 104th Regiments by the 87th (Golden Acorn) Infantry Division, the only Yankee Division doughboys remaining in battle were those of the 328th Infantry. The 346th Infantry of the 87th Infantry Division was now on the right of the 328th Infantry, and on the left was the 320th Infantry of the 35th Division. Perhaps because the sacred soil of the Fatherland, only a few miles away, was being seriously threatened, the Germans began a counter attack in the afternoon of 9 December in the zone of the 328th Infantry's 2d Battalion. This repulsed, the 2d and 3d Battalions began to advance again the following morning. Again enemy armor delivered heavy fires on our troops. The attacking battalions were forced into a slight withdrawal, because of the massed enemy tanks in the Bliesbrucken Woods. XIX Tactical Air Command was called upon for air support and in the afternoon a squadron of fighter bombers bombed and strafed the enemy concentrations in the woods. Direct hits were scored on three tanks, others were damaged. The 602d and 610th Tank Destroyer Battalions were both engaging any enemy armor that came under observation. Approximately ten tanks were eliminated by Tank Destroyer operations in the Bliesbrucken Woods action. From: Unit History of the 26th Infantry Division
I have little doubt that the action described above is probably when PFC Dentino was wounded, badly enough that he died of his wounds shortly thereafter. The fighting in this area was bitter and costly to both sides.

PFC Dentino died four days before his 23rd birthday.

From my friend Kris:
Chris - once again thank you for the honor of asking about Jim’s Great Uncle Albert.  We are so happy to have his story shared…he was forgotten by the family for 60 years until his picture surfaced in a box at Jim’s parent’s house (Albert was my MILs Uncle thru her mother). Typical of that time, so many young men died during WWII that families tended to just not talk about them to spare themselves the pain. The photo I found brought Albert to the sunlight again. Research and Ancestry.com helped me fill in the blanks of his service.  Somewhere in my MILs attic there is a Purple Heart - someday I hope to find it.  In the meantime here is Albert’s story: 
Albert Dentino enlisted on January 16, 1941 - nearly one year before Pearl Harbor.  At a time when the U.S. wasn't involved in the war; indeed we were doing our best to stay firmly out of it.  Yet this 19 year old young man, born in Dudley MA in 1921 - enlisted in the Army National Guard, Company K, 328th Regiment, 26th Division.  His motivations are lost to time of course. Like so many of his era Albert finished 2 years of high school and dropped out.  Perhaps he joined because he was bored and hoped the military could give him a future. He wouldn't be the first to do that and he wouldn't be the last.

PFC Albert J. Dentino died on December 10, 1944 - barely three years after he was likely sent overseas.  He was wounded in the Lorraine Campaign on December 8.  His death came 8 days before the US troops pulled out of the Campaign.

I also know that he never came home.  I found a scanned image of a request, by his father, for a gravestone.  The request was submitted a staggering 5 years after Albert died.  And it's for a gravestone only, specifically indicating it is a marker for a body whose location is unknown.
My friend Kris (a fellow Lexican) remembers Great Uncle Albert every Memorial Day, she posts that picture above as part of her remembrance. This year I am adding Albert J. Dentino's name to the other names I carry in my heart the year round, but whose names I speak aloud in my church every Memorial Day Sunday. All died far too young.

Captain Carroll F. LeFon, Jr., United States Navy
Lance Corporal Kurt E. Dechen, United States Marine Corps
Major Taj Sareen, United States Marine Corps
Lieutenant Nathan T. Poloski, United States Navy
Private Robert Bain, Royal Scots Fusiliers, British Army*
Private First Class Albert J. Dentino, United States Army

They died for my freedom, remembering them is the least I can do to honor their memories. May they never be forgotten.




* My great-great uncle.

18 comments:

  1. Just about that day to plant those small American flags like those shown in yesterday's post by Tuna, along the property next to the street. Been doing that since I moved here 27 years ago. The neighborhood I grew up in had those flags come out every Memorial Day and Independence Day, my Dad went out early on those mornings and just about every neighbor did the same. Now I'm the only one who does it here......... (sigh). And if there's little snow this gets done on Veteran's Day also. Ya.....there are names I'll be honoring this coming Day, for sure.

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    1. Times have changed, not for the better in some cases.

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    2. Some people still remember. Adventure Girl and her fellow CAP cadets will be spending the evening planting flags on the graves of veterans in our local cemetery this evening.

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    3. Aaron, give Adventure Girl and her fellow cadets a thumbs up!

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    4. God bless her and her fellow cadets, give them my thanks and warmest regards!

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    5. They are carrying on an honored tradition.

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    6. Thanks gentlemen, I'll convey your messages when she gets up tomorrow.

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  2. I've read that there are still over 104,000 Americans from the wars still buried in Europe. I'd imagine there is a listing of the names somewhere...

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    1. For another look at that question, read this article. Many graves have been lost, some are discovered every year. It's a sad tale, but understandable.

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  3. Sarge, my dear friend, thank you for honoring Great Uncle Albert in this way. Jim is so pleased...and I know his mom will be too. She was a favorite to her Uncle Albert. Once we found this picture and started asking about him, she shared just a LITTLE bit of what she remembered of him. She was only 5 when he died; barely 3 when he joined the Army. But her scarce memories are clearly held dearly, even though she never spoke of him out loud. And I also appreciate the details of the Lorraine Campaign that you provided...speaks volumes to what our boys went thru.

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    1. It was an honor to write of him and those he fought beside.

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  4. I'll add Lt Gen Richard "Batman" Swope, Lt Col Richard "Buck" Lang, Maj Ed "Raz" Rasimus and Capt Robert "Rocket" Schneider to that list of yours. All major players in my life.

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  5. I try to post these stories every year, maybe twice, sometimes. We can't forget these youngsters who gave their all in defense of justice, liberty and the American Way. Thank you for the bandwidth. I was so green at age 22. It is all so hard for me to imagine.

    https://davesdailys.blogspot.com/2009/08/memories-of-war-ill-bring-her-in.html


    https://davesdailys.blogspot.com/2009/05/rufus-newton-wilson.html

    https://davesdailys.blogspot.com/2009/08/valentines-day-1945.html

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    1. Thanks for sharing that series again, Dave. Looking back on it all, I idolized those men when I was a kid. Now, at 66, I realize just how young most of them were. Their bravery and their sacrifice must be remembered.

      Pretty dusty in here today...

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  6. So many to remember, so many to never forget; our duty and our honor.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)