Gabriel Delesio

Battery C, 460th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion

I lived in Philadelphia when I was drafted in February of 43.  I reported to Arkansas, and then Camp Fanning in Texas.  After I finished my basic, I saw the notice on the board and signed up for the paratroops.  I was the only one who volunteered for the paratroops, and probably thousands of guys went through there. 

Next stop:  Fort Benning.  I got my wings on February 16, 1944.  by April, I was on my way overseas to Algeria with 500 other replacements.  It was a replacement center.  From there, we went to Sicily, and then to Italy and finally caught up with combat team three days before the jump.  So I didn't know anybody I jumped with.  I was assigned to and jumped with C Battery 460, and I couldn't find the rest of my unit until the next day.  We were outside of Les Arcs.

Lt Moore and Private Kennamer were both killed on Day 1.  They went out to scout and walked right into the ambush.  Older than all of us, he was 36.  We called him the old man.  Private Kennamer had been in jail for nine years.  He was able to sign up for the paratroops, which was the reason they let him out.  They were only on the ground for five hours when that happened. 

Artillerymen of the 60th packing howitzers in Italy

Gabriel joined the 460th five days before the jump into southern France.  He had never seen a 75 pack howitzer, and everything was already loaded on a C-47 before he arrived.  After landing, he helped assemble and saw his first howitzer.  He wasn't with the section that he was assigned to because he landed too far away. That howitzer was captured by the Germans the first day, but later recovered the net day, only needing two tires.  -- paraphrased from 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team, Turner Publishing, 1998

On the Bulge: it was the worst winter in 25 years. We didn't get new clothes or a shower in a month and half.  It was so cold you couldn't smell anything.  Gabe then recalled the tractor trailer-like showers: they cut two holes out, and you walked in one door, took a shower, and headed out with clean clothes, because the other trailer was heating hot water.  The only thing was that we got someone else's clothes, but we were all about the same size and weight.

When asked if he'd ever gotten to Nice, he replied thoughtfully smiling, "Yes - it was very good."

We came into New York and the fireboats were out there greeting us.  It took about 19 days to cross to Europe and then 8 to get home. Even discharge took a couple of days.

I was promoted to corporal coming home on the boat.  I took a guy's place who went to Berlin. 

See: Short History of the 460th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion

Received from Gabriel Delesio, via interview by Claire Giblin

June 2015, New Orleans, LA