Biography: Vincent Orenzo was born on November 6, 1924, in the Bronx, New York. He was the son of Joseph and Frances Orenzo and attended local schools in the Bronx. He continued his education by attending three years of technical college.
Service Time: Vincent entered the service on June 24, 1943, at Camp Upton in New York. He was trained as an Infantryman and on August 5, he qualified as a Marksman with the M1 Rifle. He was sent to the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and was part of the 1st Student Training Regiment. While there, he took a course in Radio Repair, completing it on April 4, 1944. At the time, he was a Private First Class and was then sent to Fort George G. Meade, Maryland and the AGF (Army Ground Forces) Replacement Depot.
Vincent shipped out from the New York port on May 3, 1944, arriving in England on May 15, 1944. He was assigned to the 1st Signal Company as a Radio Operator. The unit was attached to the 1st Infantry Division, which landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. They took part in the Cobra Breakout, seeing action at St Lo, and Marigny in July, 1944, before driving across France to the German border and taking Aachen in October. They moved through the Hurtgen Forest to the Roer River and were then moved back for rest and refitting but were soon sent to the Ardennes front with the occurrence of the German offensive and the Battle of the Bulge. After helping to turn back the Germans, they attacked the Siegfried Line and moved across the Ruhr River in February 1945, driving onto the Rhine, crossing the bridge at Remagen in March. They took part in the Ruhr Pocket offensive and had pushed through the Harz Mountains to Czechoslovakia when the war in Europe finally ended.
With the end of the war, many servicemen that had enough points were able to go home. Vincent’s late entry required him to stay and he was transferred to A Company of the 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion, which had taken up occupational duties with many other TD units. The 610th was relieved of those duties on September 27th and moved back into France and Camp Detroit to await shipment home. They spent the next few months waiting for their ship to arrive. Many from the unit, including Vincent, were given passes to visit various areas in and around France. On one occasion, Vincent went to Reims, France. Among his mementos from the service was a U.S.R.R.A. (United States Riviera Recreation Area) Courtesy Pass Card, identifying that he stayed in the “Parc Palace” while still a part of the 1st Signal Company.
It is unknown where Vincent transferred next since he did not ship home with the 610th but on December 14, 1945, he did ship home aboard the Athos II, at least at the start. After six days at sea, the ship hit very bad weather and ended up having to hold up in the Azores for repairs. Vincent was then loaded onto the USS Enterprise for the rest of the journey. He arrived back in the U.S. on January 14, 1946, and left the service on January 19 at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He had reached the rank of Technician 5th Grade and had received the Distinguished Unit Badge and French Fourragere for his service with the 1st Signal Company.
After his return, Vincent worked for Grand Union Family Markets on Long Island as a meat supervisor. On October 31, 1949, he married the former Vivian Lombardo, who was also from the Bronx. The couple made their residence in Dix Hills, on Long Island, and had four children, Joseph born in 1951, Francine in 1953, Carla in 1956 and Robert in 1958. In his spare time, Vincent enjoyed gardening and electronics.
Vincent passed away on May 10, 2010, and was buried in St. Charles Cemetery in Melville, NY. I want to thank Vincent’s grandson, Joe, for providing the photos and information for this tribute.
On the photo below, you can see Vincent sitting on the barrel of a tank being prepared for transport by rail.