Gaudiomonte, Lawrence J. (771st)

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Biography: Lawrence Joseph Gaudiomonte was born on June 16, 1916, in Bronx, New York. He was the son of Vincent Gaudiomonte and Vita Maria DiBenedetto and attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. Lawrence was quite the athlete and played on the varsity football team.

After graduation he worked with in his father’s shoe repair business. His enlistment record lists his occupation as salesperson.

Service Time: Lawrence entered the service on April 24, 1941. He was ultimately assigned to the 771st Tank Destroyer Battalion, but may have been part of the unit while it was the 71st Anti-tank battalion since it was made up of military personnel from New York. After its activation, the unit would train at a myriad of military facilities including Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont, Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, the A.P. Hill Military Reservation, Virginia, Pine Camp, New York and Camp Hood, Texas.

On June 24, 1943, while on leave from the unit, Lawrence married the former Evelyn Dorothy Adams. She was born in Stowe, Vermont, and was the daughter of Perley George Adams and Francis Julia Cleveland.

Lawrence J. Gaudiomonte 4The unit received orders for overseas shipment and move to Fort Dix, New Jersey, and then Camp Shanks, NY. They took on the nickname “Gypsy Battalion” due to the more than 15,000 miles they traveled from their inception.

They shipped out from the New York port on October 21, 1943, and arrived at Liverpool, England, on November 2. The 771st was chosen to train other TD personnel in the ETO Troop Replacement system. Company A later moved out in late August and acted as an advanced party for the entire unit to ship to France on September 15th. They were equipped with M10 tank destroyers, and entered combat with the 102nd Infantry Division against the Siegfried Line defenses along the Würm River on November 3rd.

Lawrence was one of the unit’s motorcycle soldiers and was involved in an accident, while in France. His leg was broken, which kept him out of commission for some period.

The unit participated in the drive to the Roer River and held defensive positions there during December. They converted to the M36 tank destroyer in January, 1945, and supported the drive toward the Rhine River in February. They crossed the Rhine, beginning on March 31st, and joined the 102nd Infantry Division’s drive across Germany to the Elbe River, arriving on April 14th. They spent the remainder of the war helping to mop up bypassed pockets of resistance between the Rhine and Elbe rivers.

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The 771st received credit for the campaigns of Rhineland and Central Europe. Lawrence received the American Defense, American Service, EAME and Good Conduct Medals, and received the Purple Heart medal, with Oak Leaf Cluster. The second incident was related to  him being shot in the leg while in Germany. He left the service at the rank of Sergeant.

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Lawrence returned to New York and would purchase an apartment business where he opened a shoe repair and leather distribution business. He and Evelyn made their home in Briarcliff Manor and the couple would have a daughter, Theresa, born in 1954. In his spare time, he enjoyed playing golf, target shooting and was an avid football fan. He was also a member of the American Legion.

Lawrence J. Gaudiomonte 5On August 21, 1993, Lawrence passed away and was buried with full military honors in the Riverbank Cemetery in Stowe, VT. 

I want to thank Lawrence’s daughter, Theresa, for providing the photos and information for this tribute.