Bonacci, George A. (644th)

George A. Bonacci 1George A. Bonacci

Biography:  George A. Bonacci was born on September 14, 1918, in New Rochelle, New Jersey. He was the son of Joseph Nonacci and Concetta Aiello and attended New Rochelle High School, graduating in 1936. His enlistment record indicates that he was working as a nursery and landscape worker prior to the war.

Service Time:  George enlisted in the Army on February 5, 1941, at New York City, NY. After his initial training, he was assigned to Company C of the 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion.  The unit shipped out from the New York port on January 2, 1944, and arrived at Gourock, Scotland, on the 11th.

After six additional months of training and preparations, they boarded transports and landed at Utah Beach on July 11th and 12th, equipped with M10 tank destroyers. The 644th was committed to battle south of Le Haye Du Puits with the 8th Infantry Division on July 15th and participated in the Cobra breakout beginning July 26th. Advancing into Brittany in August, they helped capture Brest in early September and move to Luxembourg in late September. Fighting in the Hürtgen Forest in November, companies A and C moved to the northern Ardennes sector by early December and participated in the Battle of the Bulge, with Company B arriving late in the game. They joined in elimination of the Bulge in early 1945, and the Roer River offensive in February.

Companies B and C had crossed the Roer river on a Bailey bridge and Co. C proceeded past obstacles to join the 28th Infantry Regiment in Niederau. Company C operated on the south flank of the Division offering assistance in clearing the woods west of Stockheim and clearing Stepprath, Germany. It was during these actions on February 24th, that the infantry was halted by intense small arms and mortar fire. George’s section was not able to proceed because their route was impassable. George got out of his tank destroyer and directed his units on foot along a new route. For his courage and inspirational leadership, Staff Sergeant George A. Bonacci was awarded the Bronze Star.

Bronze Star Citation

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It was during the Roer River offensive, between March 1st and 31st that George was seriously wounded and would receive the Purple Heart. The unit reached the Rhine south of Cologne in March and crossed at Remagen, supporting the reduction of the Ruhr Pocket in April. The 644th them swung eastward to the Elbe River and rolled toward the Baltic coast with the 82d Airborne Division, finally stopping in Schwerin.

The unit received credit for campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe.

George returned home and on October 27, 1946, He married the former Vitena Macri at the Blessed Sacrament Church in New Rochelle. He worked for the U.S. Government as a Purchasing and Contracting Officer and later for the General Foods Corporation. The couple would have three children, Georgine, David and Rosemary.

George passed away on December 18, 2004, and was buried in the Greenwood Union Cemetery in Rye, NY. I want to thank George’s nephew, Pete, and his daughter, Georgine, for the information and photos for the tribute.