1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
Soldier Profile: Sebastian LaFata
Company A 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
Sebastian B. "Seby"
Lafata landed on Utah Beach on D-Day as a rifleman in Company A
He served in all five campaigns which the 22nd Infantry experienced in Europe during World War II.
On the first day of the Battle
of the Hürtgen Forest, November 17, 1944, Private First Class
was wounded in action. In Company A that day one man was killed and 23 others were wounded,
including Lafata. His wounds were light, allowing him to remain with the Regiment, yet serious enough
to earn a Purple Heart Medal.
Sebastian Lafata survived the
war and lived to the age of 93 when he suffered a fall, severely
and requiring critical surgery. The event proved to be too much at his age,
and the gallant old soldier passed away on February 4, 2015.
Company A 22nd Infantry.
The buildings in the background denote this photo was taken in the United States
before the Regiment went overseas. The field jackets, gloves and knitted woolen caps
suggest the date was most likely the end of 1943.
Sebastian Lafata (right)
Members of Company A 22nd Infantry
The entry in the casualty list of the
November 1944 After Action Report of the 22nd Infantry,
denoting that Private First Class Sebastian B. Lafata was lightly wounded in action on November 17, 1944.
Above: Sebastian LaFata's decorations.
Sebastian's decorations include:
Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal,
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Arrowhead and silver service star, World War II Victory Medal,
Army of Occupation Medal with Germany clasp, Expert Infantryman Badge, Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle bar,
Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster, Honorable Service Lapel Button and the Belgian Fourragere shoulder cord.
The arrowhead on his
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign denotes his taking part
in an amphibious landing (D-Day)
and the silver service star on the same medal denotes he served in five campaigns (one silver service star is worn in lieu of
five bronze service stars.)
Historian John Tomawski is the
great nephew of SGT Ernest Lavoie, who was killed in action
in France while serving with Company A 22nd Infantry in 1944. John and Sebastian became friends
as John researched the history of the 22nd Infantry in the effort to learn about his great uncle.
Left, John Tomawski and right, Sebastian Lafata at Sebastian's home in Michigan June 2014.
John R. Tomawski writes:
On December 14th, 2013, I was
given the names of some men who had served during WWII in the
same company as my great uncle,
Ernest Lavoie. I reached out to a few, and only got in touch with one. Sebastian LaFata. He is 93 years young.
Since that day, Sebastian and I have been speaking with each other on almost a weekly basis. He got very emotional
the first time we talked about some of the experiences he went through during the war, so I told him we didn't need to talk
about them unless he absolutely wanted to. As the months went by, we spoke about his personal life and his family.
I visited Sebastian and his family this past June. I then worked with his family in order for him to receive some of the
missing awards he was entitled to. It was rather easy, as I had just finished requesting awards for my great uncle.
I was very familiar with the process. Sebastian received these awards, and they are now displayed in a wonderful case
with all of his other awards. - John Tomawski
January 31, 2015
It is with a heavy heart that I
report some sad news. This past Saturday, my dear friend
Sebastian injured himself,
and was taken to the hospital for surgery on his broken and dislocated hip.
February 4, 2015
Sebastian passed away this
morning, around 10AM. I am very fortunate to have met him...
Sebastian was a great man, and he will be missed. I look forward to seeing him on the other side, and hearing stories
about Company A from my great uncle and him, together.
Obituary for Sebastian LaFata:
age 93, Feb. 4, 2015 Beloved husband of the late Mary. Dearest
father of Lauree (Gary) Hoover,
Patricia Clayton and Dan (Mary Ann) Bujan. Proud grandfather of Haylee & Aimee and great grandfather of Aleeta,
Gabriella & Mason. Dear friend of Glenda Bobolts. A private memorial service was held.
Arrangement entrusted to Wujek-Calcaterrra & Sons, Inc.
February 9, 2015
I drove to Michigan to attend
the memorial service for Sebastian this past weekend.
There were two U.S. Army soldiers present. Taps was played, and an American flag was presented to his daughter.
- John Tomawski
The American flag representing Sebastian Lafata's service which was presented to his daughter.
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