Edward J. Johannemann
Biography: Edward J. Johannemann, “Ed”, was born on December 17, 1922, in Roosevelt, New York. He was the son of Edward Joseph Johannemann and Lucy B. Neundorfer and attended local schools through the 10th grade.
He forged his parents signatures and was able to join the New York National Guard, serving in the Headquarters Company of the 102nd Anti-tank Battalion, which was stationed at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, as of July 1941. It is believed that while at Camp Shelby, Ed was able to complete his GED (General Educational Development) diploma.
In addition to Ed, his cousin John W. Neundorfer, “Jack”, would also enter the National Guard and serve with the HQ Co. of the 102nd and subsequent tank destroyer unit but transferred to the Army Air Corps in June of 1942. Sadly, Jack was killed in a training mission over England.
Service Time: Ed entered the service on January 13, 1941, when the 102nd was federalized and became the 802nd Tank Destroyer Battalion. He remained in HQ Company and continued to train with the unit at a number of facilities within the U.S., including Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Camp Hood, Texas, Camp Polk and Camp Claiborne in Louisiana. They also participated in maneuvers in both North Carolina and Louisiana.
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. Ed received credit for each of the unit’s campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. He left the service at the rank of Staff Sergeant.
The main photo was taken during the war and shows Ed in a car that he and other members of the unit had commandeered in France for use in their reconnaissance duties. The star on the door was drawn on with chalk and had to be reapplied after it rained or had a heavy dew. Unfortunately, the star would wash off and be miss-identified by allied aircraft and fired upon or “strafed” by those aircraft. After the second time this happened, the men’s commanding officer forced them to get rid of it.
Ed returned home to Roosevelt and on October 12, 1947, in Hempstead, NY, he married the former Frances Dolores Marino, who was the daughter of Carmine Philip and Sadie Marino. The new couple would make their home in Roosevelt and Ed worked as a surveyor, construction superintendent and particularly, as an Archeologist. Ed had an interest in archeology all his life and became quite well-known in the field over the years. He was invited to teach at Stony Brook University in Stonybrook, NY, and although he had no degree, would later receive both his Bachelors and Master’s degree in Anthropology from the institution. He served on the board of the New York Board of Archeology and was known as a loving and devoted family man.
Ed passed away on September 6, 1997, and was buried in the Calverton Veterans Cemetery in Calverton, NY. I want to thank Ed’s son, Jack, for providing the information and main image of his father. Thank you also to Find A Grave contributor “deenchaz” for the use of the grave marker image.