Norman H. Zumm
Biography: Norman Herman Zumm was born on September 18, 1919, in Chicago, Illinois. He was the son of Traugott Zumm and Anna Lena Middleborn and completed 8th grade at St. Paul's Lutheran School in Doltan, IL, before attending high school at the Fenger Academy in Chicago.
Norman then found work in the printing industry as a pressman for R. R. Donnelly & Sons.
Service Time: Norman entered the service on January 5, 1942, at Camp Grant, IL. After his initial training, he was assigned to the Reconnaissance Company of the 602nd Tank Destroyer battalion. The unit was equipped with M10 tank destroyers but converted to M18s before leaving the U.S.
He trained at a number of military facilities, including Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Camp Forest, Tennessee and Fort Sam Houston, in Texas. It was during his training that he qualified as a Marksman with the .30 caliber rifle and M1 carbine. He was also the battalion bugler.
On May 29, 1943, while on leave, Norman married the former Rose Adduci, who was born in Chicago and was the daughter of Giovanni "John" Adduci and Dominica "Minnie" Mundo.
The unit shipped out on July 18, 1944, from the New York port, aboard the S.S. Bergensfjord and arrived in Scotland on July 29th. A month later they landed at Omaha Beach on August 26th. They were committed to battle along the Moselle River on September 9th and supported operations leading to the capture of Metz, France, in November.
Norman was the main gunner in one of Recon's M8 armored cars. The main photo shows him with his M8, and its 37mm gun in the background, while the unit was having some routine maintenance done. Note the white baby boots tied to the end of the gun. The boots were the crew's "good luck" charm, which had been with them for several months, since their landing in the Normandy. One day the baby boots came loose and were lost. It was shortly thereafter that their M8 was hit by enemy fire. Fortunately, all four crew members remained unscathed, but their good luck charm was gone forever. The other members of the crew were Charles Corso, Lester Smart and Wilbur Storer. The four men would remain life-long friends. Norman also served as the crew's radioman.
The men and their M8, named "Ramblin Wreck", can be seen in the photo on left. Shown left to right is Smart, Norman, Storer and Corso.
The 602nd transferred to Belgium during the Ardennes Offensive, arriving at Neufchateau on December 21st. They supported operations against the Bulge in January, 1945, and fought through the Siegfried Line fortifications in February. The unit returned to the Moselle River area in March, and crossed the Rhine River at Boppard, Germany, on March 26th. They finally advanced through Gotha, Eisenach, and Zwickau in April.
The 602nd received credit for campaigns in Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. Norman left the service at the rank of Private First Class.
When he got back to the U.S., Norman went back to his job at R. R. Donnelly & Sons, printers of such publications as Life, Look and Sports Illustrated magazines. The family made their home in Riverdale, IL, and Norman and Rose had three children, a daughter Norma Jean and two sons, Gerald and Robert. In his spare time, Norman enjoyed fishing, woodworking and reading. He was also a volunteer firefighter for the town of Riverdale. Norman retired from Donnelly after 39 years with the firm.
In the photo shown above, Norman closely examines a Recon Company flag, at one of the unit's reunions held in San Antonio, Texas.
Norman passed away on February 27, 2016, and he was buried in the Oakland Memory Lanes in Dolton, IL. He had 6 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. I want to thank Norman's son, Robert, for providing the information and photos for this tribute.