James Joseph Puglia

Company C 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry

4th Infantry Division

KIA 06/13/1944

 

 

James J. Puglia was born in New York on September 25, 1917. He was drafted into the Army on March 4, 1941
at Jamaica, New York. His home of residence was listed as New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York.
His civilian occupation was listed as Unskilled Occupations In Manufacture Of Textiles. He had completed
one year of High School and was single with no dependents. His religion was listed as Catholic.

He was one of six brothers drafted from his family during the war.

James Puglia was assigned to the 22nd Infantry at Fort Benning, Georgia, and served with the Regiment
from 1941 until his death in 1944. ( The photo at the top of this page shows Private James J. Puglia
at Fort Benning in 1941. )

 

     

Left:

Six soldiers of the 22nd Infantry at Camp Gordon,
Augusta, Georgia ca. 1941-1943.

Note 22nd Infantry insignia on their garrison caps.

Third from the right (or from the top if you prefer)
is James J. Puglia.

Sitting on the ground at the very bottom of the pile
in the center is Raymond "Bub" Reiff also of
Company C 22nd Infantry.

Reiff was seriously wounded during the
D-Day landing on Utah Beach.

Photo courtesy of Bill Di Dio,
nephew of James J. Puglia
and Raymond F. Reiff, Jr.

(Note: Reiff married Puglia's sister's husband's sister)

 

 

Private Puglia was killed in action in France during 1st Battalion's attack against the Quineville ridge,
on June 13, 1944. On the night of June 13, Company C and 1st Battalion were in positions north of
Fontenay-sur-Mer, dug in for the night, in preparation for the attack against the ridge the next day.

Bill Di Dio, the nephew of James J. Puglia writes:

"My uncle shared a fox hole with the other three men listed ( ed., Joseph J. Garcarz, Frank B. McAndrew, Stephen Pacholek) .
They came under heavy artillery fire from German 88's...when they inspected the damage the next morning, my uncle and
the three others were thought to be asleep, but an 88 landed nearby and the concussion killed all four...
there wasn't a scratch on any of them. That's the story told to the family.

My uncle was the first one drafted of his six brothers (before the war started). He was the 5th youngest of the 6.
Trying to remember some other things...I know he carried the BAR. They trained for 3 years for this invasion..imagine that!
...he was the only one KIA of the six brothers."

 


Telegram to the family announcing the death of James J. Puglia

 

 

 

Private James J. Puglia's decorations

 

 

 

James Puglia was buried in the American cemetery at Ste-Mère-Eglise No. 1. James's brother Mike,
who was a tank driver under Patton took the following pictures of his burial site at Ste-Mère-Eglise:

 

The cemetery at Ste-Mère-Eglise No. 1

 

 

The sign at the American cemeteries at Ste-Mère-Eglise.
The first American cemetery was created in France in June1944. It counted 3000 graves. A second one was opened on the road to
Chef-du-Pont (5000 graves), and a third one in Blosville.
14000 American soldiers were buried in the three cemeteries of Ste-Mère-Eglise. In 1948, the remains of most of these soldiers
were returned to the USA. The rest were reburied in the cemeteries at St James in the south of La Manche, and at Colleville-sur-Mer
(Omaha Beach). Today, there is no cemetery left in Sainte-Mère-Eglise. ¹

 

 

     

The grave of James J. Puglia at Ste-Mère-Eglise No. 1 ( center, front ).
Note the wooden crosses, indicative of American burials in Europe
during the war.

 

 

The sign at Ste-Mère-Eglise cemetery No. 1
where James Puglia was buried.

     

 

 

The grave of James J. Puglia.

 

 

 

Bill Di Dio, the nephew of James J. Puglia writes:

"The family had his body shipped back to the states in 1948 and he is buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in New Rochelle, NY.
He is buried with his mother, father and sister (my grandfather, grandmother and aunt) who wasn't quite 2 when she died.
Like I said earlier, my mother was the only surviving sister."

 

Grave marker for the Puglia family at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in New Rochelle, NY.
The inscription for James J. Puglia is at the top, left, giving his service with the 22nd Infantry.

 

 

 

Bill Di Dio, the nephew of James J. Puglia writes:

"My mom's six brothers (he was the only one KIA) plus my dad and my dad's brother and my dad's sister's husbands
were all WW II vets (9 uncles total)...also my father in law who was a career man.  Served in WW II and Korea...
they are all gone now...they never talked about it...what a great generation of men."

 

Bill Di Dio carried on in the tradition of a family serving its country, as a door gunner
with the 71st Assault Helicopter Company in the Republic of Vietnam, 1968-1969.
The above photos, telegram and biographical notes are courtesy of Bill.

The 1st Battalion website is grateful to Bill Di Dio for his work to preserve and honor
the memory of his Uncle, Private James J. Puglia.

 

Bill Di Dio

71st AHC 1st Aviation Brigade
Republic of Vietnam

     

Bill Di Dio

Rattler/Firebird Association
2012

 

 

 

 

¹ Office de Tourisme Communautaire de Sainte-Mère-Eglise

 

 

 

 

 

 


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