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Scrivani, Lawrence J. (702nd)

Lawrence J. Scrivani

Biography:  Lawrence Joseph Scrivani was born on October 2, 1918, in Vineland, New Jersey. He was the son of Anthony Scrivani and Rose Viana and attended Sacred Heart High School. After leaving school, he worked full-time on the family farm.

Service Time:  Lawrence entered the service on January 10, 1941, and after his basic training was chosen to fill a position in the original cadre of men creating the 702nd Tank Destroyer Battalion. Lawrence was assigned to Company B and trained with the unit at a number of military facilities throughout the U.S., including Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Camp Hood, Texas, Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, Camp Myles Standish and Fort Devens, Massachusetts. They also took part in the Louisiana Maneuvers.

The unit was equipped with M18 tank destroyers before shipping out, which they did on February 14, 1944, from the Boston port. They arrived in Gourock, Scotland, on February 25, 1944, only to be issued M10 tank destroyers while there. After four months of additional training, they were loaded on transports and landed at Omaha Beach on June 11th. Entering the line at Livry, France, on July 2nd, they formed part of the 2nd Armored Division’s spearhead during the Cobra breakout in late July. The unit fought at Mortain and established the first contact with Canadian forces during encirclement of the Falaise Pocket.  They entered Belgium on September 5th and crossed German border near Gangelt and then fought against Siegfried Line along Wurm River in October and November.

After Action Reports for early October state: “On October 1st, the Battalion except Companies A and C were located in Versilienbosch, Holland. They were given 30 minutes notice that they were needed to assist CC (Combat Command) “B” in a drive against the Siegfried Line on the 2nd and 3rd. Reconnaissance of routes and bridgeheads established by the 30th Infantry Division was made during the day by all companies. Possible gun locations were reconnoitered along the heights overlooking the Wurm River.

The battalion less A and C Companies moved from the vicinity of Versilienbosch to Orotewrath, Germany on the 4th. Company B Supporting the attack of CC “B” crossed the Wurm River at Falenburg, Germany on the 4th of October. The first platoon was attached to Task Force #1, CC “B”  and the 2nd platoon was attached to Task Force #2, CC “B”. The 3rd platoon was placed in CC “B” reserve. Road blocks were placed at two separate points by Company B to protect assembly area of cc “B”.”

One M10 Tank Destroyer of the unit is identified as being destroyed by a Mark IV Panzer Tank. We believe this M10 was manned by Lawrence and his crew. Two men were injured and evacuated for treatment while two additional men were killed and identified as Technician 4th Grade Lawrence J. Scrivani and Private Anthony Zadnik. The M-10 was recovered but was not repairable.

As identified by a letter from Lawrence’s commanding officer Cpt. Louis M Nawrocky, to his mother, the Captain identifies that Lawrence was buried in a grave (temporary) in an established American cemetery in Holland and that a Catholic Chaplain attended the burial. He also mentioned that her son’s death occurred near Ubach, Germany and that Lawrence “gave his life on the field of battle with outstanding valor and courage.” Lawrence would posthumously receive the Purple Heart in recognition of his ultimate sacrifice and be awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with the 2d Armored Division during World War II.

Cpt. Louis M. Nawrocky letter to Lawrence’s mother

As identified earlier, Lawrence’s body was buried in a grave in Holland but somehow his remains seem to have been lost and his name added to the Tablets of the Missing, located at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands. Over the years, numerous correspondence have been sent by the family to try to identify and correct this situation and find the final resting place of their loved one but the situation has not yet been resolved. Thank you to Lawrence’s cousin Carl for providing the information and photo used in this tribute.