Archive for June, 2013

Radio News: special 1942 and 1944 Signal Corps issues

June 12, 2013
Radio News

Covers of November, 1942 and February 1944 special Signal Corps issues of Radio News

Pat Nagel, the daughter of the late Camp Crowder trainee John Moriarty shared with me the two special editions of Radio News that her father had saved.

American Radio History site is in the process uploading all issues of Radio News.

February, 1944, Special 1944 U.S. Army Signal Corps Issue has been uploaded. (The link is to the full 437 page Adobe PDF file).

The November, 1942 Special U.S. Army Signal Corps Issue will be available soon.

The originals of both issues along with other Signal Corps related artifacts will be donated to an archive, museum, library, or historical society. An announcement of which institution accepts the donation will be posted on this blog.

The February, 1944 issue contained the following photo of what may be the 45th Signal Company constructing communications wire in Sicily

Signal Corps men of the 45th

“Signal Corps men of the 45th Division” (possible the 45th Signal Company) setting up wire in Caltanissetta, Sicily. Undated.

This was about 17 months before Felix A. Cizewski was transferred to the 45th Signal Company in France in January, 1945.

While my late father is not in this photo, in my nine years of research this is the first photo I have found that illustrates in detail the type of work my late father did in France and Germany while serving in the 45th Signal Company in 1945

Among the reason Ms. Nagel shared these magazines is her hope that families of  WWII Signal Corps veterans would find insight into their relative’s service or photos of their relatives. 

I turn out to be one of those relatives who so far has found this photo and articles in the November, 1942 issue on the Signal Corps’ Camp Crowder, Missouri where my late father trained for about 19 months.

A Radio News page has been added to my Unofficial Informal Archive of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Northwest Europe in WWII to make this great resource available to other WWII family history researchers.

For more information:

Radio News

Signal Corps training at Camp Crowder, Missouri.

45th Infantry Division

Unofficial Informal Archive of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Northwest Europe in WWII


3185th Signal Service Battalion veteran Senator Frank Lautenberg dies

June 6, 2013
Frank Lautenberg

Frank Lautenberg in undated photo during his WWII service.
Source: (AP Photo/Photo provided by Sen. Frank Lautenberg)

The late Senator Frank Lautenberg enlisted in early 1942 after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. He began his service in 1943 after he turned 19, finished high school, and his father passed away.

He was assigned to the U.S. Army Signal Corps and did basic training Signal Corps training center at Camp Crowder, Neosho, Missouri.

After basic training he was sent to the Signal Corps base at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey where he hoped to be admitted to Officer Candidates School.

Instead he was assigned to Company C, 3185th Signal Service Battalion. Company C was the battalion’s Open Wire Repair Section with pole and wire responsibilities including construction and maintenance. He had the enlisted rank of Technician Fifth Grade

On September 7, 1944, the 3185th left Boston aboard the Navy transport U.S.S. West Point (AP23). The Nazi U-boats had been defeated so the ship sailed alone rather than in  convoy. They arrived at  Liverpool, England on September 14, 1944.

From Liverpool, the battalion went to Southampton, England where they boarded ships to France. From the ship the battalion was transferred to small craft and disembarked on one of the Normandy beaches. From France they were sent to Antwerp, Belgium where they served for the rest of the war.

Antwerp was liberated on September 4, 1944.  Access to its harbor and port were secured by November 26 and became a major supply facility for the Allies. Army Service Forces were responsible for operating the port and distributing the supplies. Sen. Lautenberg and the 3185th may have been one of the Army Service Forces’ Signal Corps units that provided communications infrastructure and support.

Sen. Lautenberg reports that in an attempt to disrupt this supply line, the Nazis bombarded Antwerp almost continuously with V-weapons and jet bombers. Over 1200 V-1 and V-2 weapons hit Antwerp between October, 1944 and March, 1945.  They were militarily ineffective as they rarely if ever hit the military targets of the harbor, port, and supplies. Instead they mostly hit the civilians of Antwerp.

Civilian casualties in Antwerp from a 1944 Nazi V-weapon attack on Antwerp while Sen. Lautenberg was serving nearby.

While up on a communications pole Sen. Lautenberg was knocked to the ground  by the shock wave from the nearby explosion of a V-weapon. He suffered only minor bruises and resumed work the next day.

The Nazi attack on December 16, 1944, the Battle of the Bulge, had among its objectives the capture of Antwerp. Sen. Lautenberg and his unit were sent to the Antwerp train station and issued ammunition. The Americans stopped the Nazis before Sen. Lautenberg was deployed to the front.

After the defeat of the Nazis, the 3185th collected and secured valuable Army communications equipment. They were then sent to camps near Reims to be redeployed to the Pacific and the war with Japan. While there they learned of the dropping of the atomic bombs and the Soviets declaration of war and attack on the Japanese followed by the surrender of Japan.

Bitburg 1985

In 1985 while President Reagan was visiting the German military cemetery at Bitburg which included some graves of Nazi SS war criminals, Senator Lautenberg visited the graves of American WWII soldiers at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium.

Senator Lautenberg and my father, Felix A. Cizewski

If it was not for Senator Frank Lautenberg’s service in the  non-divisional 3185th Signal Service Battalion, this unit would be almost unknown and lost to history.

His passing is an opportunity to remember the service of such units. That also honors Sen. Lautenberg’s memory as it continues his work. Along with his life long commitment to ensure veterans received benefits such as health, housing, and education, he also prioritized their recognition and remembrance.

The popular culture image of WWII is of troops on the front lines and combat aircrews.

Behind every ground combat soldier were at least 10 men and women providing support. Behind ever combat air crew were least 12 men and women providing support. Those were millions of men and women in thousands of units such as Sen. Lautenberg’s 3185th and Felix A. Cizewski’s 3110th Signal Service Battalion.

If my late father wrote letters home, none survived. He talked very little of his service. After his death in 2004, I researched his history. Frank Lautenberg’s description of his service is the closest I have ever found to my late father’s. When I listen to the interview with Senator Lautenberg, I am able to imagine he was also telling my late father’s story.

Both my late father and Senator Lauterberg trained at the same time at Camp Crowder, Missouri in 1943. Both were assigned to Signal Service Battalions and to their battalion’s Company C, the Open Wire Repair Section. My late father’s battalion was in the Army Service Forces. Sen. Lautenberg’s description of his service strongly suggests that his battalion was also.

Both passed through Fort Monmouth, New Jersey on their way to Britain from where they were deployed to France.

Both my late father and Sen. Lautenberg provided communications support for the Army Service Forces, my late father on the Cotenin Peninsula and in Paris, Sen. Lautenberg’s in Antwerp.

Both suffered non-battle injuries during their service. My late father suffered frostbite to his hands and feet. Sen. Lautenberg was knocked off a communications pole from the shock wave from the nearby explosion of a Nazi weapon.

After the end of the war in Europe, both were sent to camps near Reims for redeployment to the Pacific and the war with Japan. They both learned of the surrender of Japan and returned to the U.S. from there.

June 6: 69th anniversary of the 1944  D-Day landings in Normandy

On June 6, 1944, Senator Lautenberg in Company C of the 3185th Signal Service Battalion was in the U.S. preparing to be deployed to Europe.

My later father, Felix A. Cizewski, in Company C of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion was in southern England constructing the communications infrastructure to support and supply the troops landing on Normandy. The 3110th was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for this work.

WWII veterans in the Senate

Senator Lautenberg was the last WWII veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate. This is the first time in 70 years that the Senate has been without a WWII veteran.

For more information:

Interview format may only play with the free version of RealPlayer software.

Entry for Senator Lautenberg on page 27.

Includes photo of  Sen. Lautenberg at Arc De Triumph in Paris.

Contains at least one error and one omission:

His Europe Africa Middle East Medal is erroneously listed as “European African Medal; Eastern Service Medal”.

Senator Lautenberg description of his service indicates that he earned participation credit for service in the Rhineland Campaign. That medal is not listed.

Revised October 26, 2013
Short link:

150th anniversary of Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan at the 1863 siege of Vicksburg

June 4, 2013
Siege of Vicksburg

Map of the campaign at Vicksburg and Jackson, Mississippi (Click for larger image.)
Regiment symbol north of Vicksburg above “Sherman”: Approximate location of the 20th Michigan from early June to the fall of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863.
Regiment symbol north of Jackson: Approximate location of the 20th Michigan during the assault and recapture of Jackson, Mississippi on July 17, 1863.
Public domain map from the U.S. Military Academy.

150 years ago on June 4, 1863, Anson Croman and the 20th Michigan were ordered to leave Kentucky and join General Grant at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

On arrival the 20th Michigan was deployed north of Vicksburg under General Sherman’s command.  The main Union forces  had surrounded Vicksburg. General Sherman’s forces were protecting their flanks from Confederate General Joe Johnston’s forces.

On July 4, the day after the Confederates were defeated at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Vicksburg surrendered.

Immediately afterward the Union army including the 20th Michigan chased General Johnson’s forces and by July 17 recaptured Jackson, Mississippi. After the Confederates retreated the 20th tore up railroads north of  Jackson.

The 20th Michigan remained near Vicksburg until August 4 when it returned to Kentucky.

The capture of Vicksburg secured the Mississippi River for the Union and divided the Confederacy in two.

At times the Union victory at Gettysburg overshadows their capture of Vicksburg.  While the war continued for almost two more years, the Confederacy never recovered from those two losses. Both were equally decisive in the military defeat of the Confederacy.

Postal Service issues stamp commemorating the 150th anniversary of the siege of  Vicksburg

Vicksburg & Gettysburg stamps

The Battle of Vicksburg stamp is a reproduction of an 1863 lithograph by Currier & Ives titled “Admiral Porter’s Fleet Running the Rebel Blockade of the Mississippi at Vicksburg, April 16th, 1863.”
Copyright © 2013 USPS. Fair use.

For more information:

Vicksburg National Military Park Civil War 150th Events

Anson Croman and the  Civil War: 1863

Anson Croman (20th Michigan Infantry Regiment) and the Civil War

Gettysburg, Vicksburg Civil War Forever Stamps Issued: Third of Five-Year Civil War Sesquicentennial Stamps Series Continues

If Anson Croman wrote letters home, none have survived. Therefore the best way to preserve and share the story of his service is by sharing the history of his regiment. Records document that Anson Croman was with his regiment from his 1862 enlistment until the Confederate surrender at Appomatox, Virginia in 1865.

The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendents of Anson Croman and is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.


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