Valdrini, Ermido (773rd)

Ermido Valdrini 1Ermido Valdrini

Biography: Ermido Valdrini was born on August 19, 1907, in Prescott, Arizona. He was the son of Pasquale G. G. Valdrini and Catarina M. Balzano. The 1930 U.S. Census shows that he was employed as a Dairyman and living in Clarkdale, AZ. His draft card, dated October 16, 1940, lists him as working at the Jerome Dairy Company in Cottonwood, AZ, and his enlistment records states he completed grammer school.

Service Time: Ermido entered the Army on March 12, 1942, at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas. At some point, he was assigned to Company B of the 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. The 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion was activated on December 15, 1941, from the 73rd Provisional Anti-tank battalion. In early 1942, the unit moved to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, for four months of training followed by a move to Indio, California and the Desert Training Center. After an eight-month training period, including the Desert Maneuvers of September and October of 1942, the 773rd departed for Camp Hood. Texas, the home of the Tank Destroyers. This training phase extended from December 1942 to April of 1943.

Again, on the move, this time to Camp Atterbury, Indiana, they later were ordered to Tennessee, in June, for their fourth large scale Army Maneuvers, this time with the Second Army. The unit returned to Camp Atterbury, and on the 15th of January 1944, they moved to New York. A short but busy stay at the P.O.E., Camp Shanks, NY, preceded embarkation on the British liner “Acquitania”.

The 773rd arrived at Gourock, Scotland, on February 7, 1944. They later landed at Utah and Omaha beaches, Normandy, France, on August 8, seeing their first real action at Le Bourg, St. Leonard, beginning August 17th during the envelopment of Falaise Pocket. They advanced to the Moselle River sector via Paris and fought at Luneville and the Foret de Parroy. Supporting the capture of Metz, France in November, they joined operations against the Siegfried Line along the Saar River in December.

Ermido Valdrini 3The WWII press photo at left was taken on December 13, 1944, while stopped in Wallerfangen, Germany. Ermindo is shown on the far right helping to reload their M10 tank destroyer with 3-inch ammunition. Other members of the crew, L to R, are Private First Class Milton Yass of New York City, Technician 4th grade Russell Gulick of Barnesboro, Pennsylvania, Sergeant Julius J. Tomaszewski of Clifton Heights, PA. At the time they were attached to the 90th Infantry Division.

Unit records state Ermido was wounded on December 16th. A WWII Hospital Admission File shows he was wounded by a land mine while in a vehicle. One TD from 3rd Platoon, Company B, ran over a mine near Dillingen, Germany, on the 15th. Unit records make no mention of a Company B TD being damaged on the 16th. He may have been wounded in the incident on the 15th instead. With the platoons and companies widely scattered, many times there were delays getting daily information back to the unit headquarters and dates were sometimes incorrect.

The unit was ordered to the Ardennes on January 6, 1945, and then began fighting through the Siegfried Line again in February. They reached the Rhine River at Koblenz, Germany on March 16th. The 773rd crossed the Rhine on March 23rd and 24th at Oppenheim and helped capture Darmstadt and Frankfurt before driving across Germany to Czechoslovakia, beginning on April 1st. The unit cleared the Czechoslovak-German border area southward and ended the war near Petrovice.

The 773rd received credit for the campaigns of Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. Ermido received a Purple Heart Medal for his wounds, the EAME Ribbon, the Good Conduct Ribbon and shared in the Distinguished Unit Citation received by the unit for their actions in August 1944. He was discharged on November 1, 1945, and left the military at the rank of Technician Grade 5.

Ermido returned home and on January 13, 1946, in Hockessin, Delaware, he married the former Desolina Paloni who was born in Bellwood, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Domenico D. Paloni and Luisa L. DeSantis. The new couple eventually made their home in New Castle, DE. They had two children, Joseph and Catherine. Ermido owned and operated his mushroom farm from 1946 to 1971, when he retired. He was a member of St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church.

Ermido passed away on January 13, 1988, and was buried in the All Saints Cemetery, Wilmington, DE. Thank you to Roberto Costanzo for providing the photo of Ermido. Thank you to Find a Grave contributor Michael A.Kline for use of the grave marker photo.

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