Biography: Anthony Bertone “Sonny” was born in Hoboken, New Jersey on July 30, 1921. He was the son of Patrick Bertone and Anna Spina and attended local schools in Hoboken through the grammar level.
After leaving school, he would find work with the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and specifically work as a cutting machine operator. His enlistment record says he had also worked in the manufacture of finished lumber products.
Service Time: Sonny enlisted in the Army on April 15, 1942, at Newark, NJ. After his initial training, he was assigned to Company C of the 634th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The unit was originally formed as the 34th Provisional Anti-tank Battalion in August, 1941, and participated as such in the Louisiana Maneuvers that fall. The 634th was activated on December 16, 1941 at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. In 1942, they trained at Camp Hood, Texas, and participated in the fall Louisiana Maneuvers before returning to Camp Claiborne.
It was on September 29, 1942, that while on leave from the unit, Sonny married the former Josephine Agrella, at the St. Francis Church in Hoboken.
In 1943, they were equipped with the M10 Tank Destroyer. They shipped to England on December 29th, arriving on January 10, 1944. While there, they received additional training before landing on Utah Beach in Normandy, France, on June 30th. They were committed to battle on July 10th near Carentan and participated in the Cobra breakout in late July. Their widely separated elements helped capture Mayenne and defeat the Mortain counteroffensive in early August.
The 634th then raced east to Mons, Belgium, and supported operations against the Siegfried Line and the capture of Aachen, Germany, in October. They fought in the Hürtgen Forest in November and then moved to Belgium in December, only to race south to the Ardennes in late December. Crossing the Roer River on February 25, 1945, the 634th pushed to the Rhine River at Bonn by March 9th and crossed at Remagen on the 15th, supporting the envelopment of the Ruhr Pocket. They then moved east to the Harz Mountains in early April and drove 200 miles to the Czechoslovak border by April 28th. The unit received credit for campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. Sonny would have shared in the unit’s award of the Croix De Guerre and left the service at the rank of Private First Class.
After returning home, Sonny initially worked as a cross-country truck driver but later worked for the Nestle factory as a coffee roaster. He remained in that position for 20 years until his retirement. In his spare time, Sonny enjoyed studying history and was an avid reader. He and Josephine would have two daughters, Arlene and Maureen. Sonny passed away on December 25, 2019, and was buried in the BG William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Arneytown, NJ.
I want to thank Richard Alvarez for providing the information used in this tribute. Thank you also to the Bertone family for the photos.