Nick D. DeMaria
Biography: Nick Dominick DeMaria was born on December 27, 1917, in Bayonne, New Jersey. He was the son of Nicholas DeMaria and Adele “Nellie” Aglieri and attended local schools through the 10th grade. He worked for his family’s produce business as a clerk and later a retail manager, as indicated by his enlistment record.
Nick married the former Dorothy Ann Smith who was also born in Bayonne and was the daughter of Anthony Irving Smith and Susan “Anna” Smith. The couple would make their home in Bayonne.
Service Time: Nick entered the service on October 13, 1941, at Fort Dix, NJ. He was chosen for OCS (Officer Candidate School) and graduated at the rank of Second Lieutenant in 1943. He was assigned to A Company of the 774th Tank Destroyer Battalion and served as a Platoon Leader.
The unit had initially been a self-propelled TD battalion but converted to a towed battalion while still in the states. They shipped out from the New York port on June 3, 1944, and arrived at Gourock, Scotland, on June 12th. After less than a month of additional training and preparations, they boarded transports and disembarked at Utah Beach on August 7th.
The unit initially joined the fighting around Argentan and ran eastward across France to Lorraine as part of a cavalry screen with the 7th Armored Division. They participated in fighting around Metz, starting in September. In October of 1944, Nick’s first daughter Susan was born. Although he was a tough leader, he was much loved and respected by his men and when they heard of the new baby, they sent gifts home for her.
The 774th then fought along the Saar in December and joined the rush north to the Ardennes. They converted to M36 tank destroyers in late February 1945, and then drove to the Rhine in March. They held the Rhine west of the Ruhr Pocket in April and then took on military government duties. Nick was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions during the war.
After the war, Nick worked for the Standard Oil Company. He and Dorothy would have a second daughter Nancy born in 1946. Nick remained with Standard Oil until 1950, when he was recalled to active service in the Korean War. He served as a Battery Commander with the 2nd Infantry Division Artillery, utilizing 8″ guns. He would later volunteer during the Vietnam conflict, and during years 1963 & 1964, served as an Adviser, for the Regional and Popular Forces, for the IV Corps. His responsibilities included the training reserves in the Mekong Delta, the southern-most region of the country, while actively fighting the Viet-Cong. At the time, there were only 16,000 Americans in the country but in only a few years there would be over 500,000 U.S. troops there.
The photo above left is Nick, as a 1st Lieutenant, while serving with the 2nd Infantry Division. The photo on right is Nick in about 1963, as a Lt. Colonel and branch-assigned to the ADA (Air Defense Artillery)
He retired from the military in 1970, at Staten Island, NY. In addition to the Bronze Star, he was also awarded the Legion of Merit (twice), the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and numerous campaign medals. He left the service at the rank of Colonel.
Nick then went to work at Wagner College as their Director of Administrative Services and later became a civilian employee of the Department of the Army. He worked there right up until his death on April 6, 1998. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington Virginia, Section 9, Site 5941 EH.
I want to thank Nick’s son-in-law Jack for providing the information and photos for this tribute.