Bernard C. Dobrzykowski
Biography: Bernard Constantine Dobrzykowski was born on May 4, 1921, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the son of Peter Dobrzykowski and Stanislawa (Stella) Socha and attended St. Stanislaus Parochial School and then 2 years at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.
He then went to work as a carton packer at the American Can Company.
Service Time: Bernard entered the service on October 13, 1942, at Baltimore, MD, and during his initial training, he qualified as an Expert with the Light Machine Gun and Sub Cal. 22. He was a Marksman with the M-1 and M1903 Rifle and a Sharpshooter with the Carbine. He was trained as an anti-tank gun crewman and to assigned to Company A of the 802nd Tank Destroyer battalion.
The unit received training at a number of facilities within the U.S., including Camp Sutton, North Carolina, Fort Bragg, NC, Camp Hood, Texas, Camp Polk and Camp Claibourne in Louisiana and they participated in maneuvers in both North Carolina and Louisiana.
On May 1, 1943, while stationed at Camp Polk, Bernard married the former Doris Johanna Heinze, while on leave from the unit. Doris was born in Baltimore and was the daughter of Marion William Heinze and Helen Elizabeth O’Brien.
The unit then proceeded to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, to prepare for overseas shipment. The 802nd boarded the troopship Ile De France and set sail on April 7, 1944, from the New York port and arrived at the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, on April 15th. After three months of additional training, they boarded transports and landed on Utah Beach in Normandy, France on July 1st. They were equipped with 3″ towed guns and entered battle near Carentan on July 4th.
Advancing into Brittany in August, they supported the attack on St. Malo in August and then crossed France, entering Luxembourg on September 23rd. The unit supported operations against the Siegfried Line through November and then participated in the Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg, in late December. The 802nd converted to M36 tank destroyers in February and March 1945, and crossed the Rhine River at Wessel on April 2nd.
They joined the elimination of the Ruhr Pocket after which they took on occupation duties. The unit received credit for campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. Bernard received credit for each of the unit’s campaigns, and was awarded the EAME, the WWII Victory and Good Conduct Medals.
In the photos above you can see Bernard with a few of his buddies from the unit. The photo at left was taken during the occupation period since the men are wearing their service ribbons. The right photo was probably taken after the war as well. He is standing at the right in both photos.
Bernard shipped home on November 21st, arriving in the U.S. on the 29th. He left the service on December 5, 1945, at Fort George G. Meade, MD, at the rank of Technician 5th Grade.
Now back home, Bernard returned to Baltimore and Doris. The couple would have two sons, Bernard “Bernie”, born in 1947, and Michael in 1953. Bernard found work with Cutter Krouse Uniform and later for the Joseph A. Banks Clothier as a material cutter. In his spare time, he enjoyed watching sports and model making. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Holy Name Society, where he was a past-president, the VFW, American Legion, Our Lady of Fatima Church and the 802nd Tank Destroyer Bn Association.
Bernard passed away on March 21, 1992, and was buried in the Oak Lawn Cemetery in Baltimore. I want to thank Bernard’s son, Bernie, for providing the information and photos used in this tribute.