Edward P. Tumas
Biography: Edward Paul Tumas was born on December 5, 1922 in Vandergrift, PA. He was the son of John Tumas and Catherine Yasevicz who had both been born in Vilnius, Lithuania and immigrated to the U.S. Eddie attended local schools in Vandergrift, graduating from high school in 1941. He found work as a clerk for U.S. Steel prior to entering the service.
Service Time: Eddie entered the service on January 20, 1943 at Greensburg, PA and was assigned to Company B of the 629th Tank Destroyer Battalion. He trained with them at the Desert Training Center in June of 1943 and at Fort Hood, TX in August. The unit shipping to England on January 1, 1944 landing in England on the 8th. After landing on Omaha beach in Normandy, the 629th used their guns for artillery fire in the Caumont sector before joining the 30th Infantry Division at Mortain. They then supported actions around Falaise. After participating in the parade through Paris in August, they moved to Luxembourg and supported operations in the Hürtgen Forest and against the Siegfried Line.
During actions in the area of Grasshau and Strauss, Germany, Company B was attached to the 330th Infantry Regiment and came under heavy artillery, mortar and machine gun fire. B Company knocked out two Royal Tiger tanks and forced another to withdraw but suffered heavy losses of their own personnel. Sgt. Tumas volunteered to stay the night in an old building and provide aid to the wounded. It was the following morning on December 11, 1944 that Eddie was killed instantly when a mortar shell came through the building's roof. For Gallantry and utter disregard for his personal safety, Eddie was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. At the time of his death, he was only 22 years of age. Eddie was buried at the US Military Cemetery Margraten, Holland, Plot B, Row 9, Grave 16.
Edward's brother Casimir served in the U.S. Army and was captured during actions at Kasserine Pass in Tunisia, North Africa in 1943. He was liberated from Stalag 3B in Furstenberg, Germany in the spring of 1945. Their brother John served US Army 3rd Infantry Division and was stationed in Washington D.C. 1943 to 1945.
I want to thank Eddie's nephew Ed, who was named after him, for photos and information on his uncle. I also want to thank Eddie's niece Susan for her assistance and additional materials used in the article.