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Every Child Needs a Father

Thank You for My Daddy

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Edward LaPorta was born in Italy in 1917. He grew up and was educated in Italy as well. His dream was to be a mechanical engineer like his father. He skipped a grade and by the age of 16 he had graduated grammar school, high school, and had completed one year of college. At the age of 16 and a half he travelled to the United States. His father was already in the United States preparing for his family to join him. LaPorta joined his father and signed up for school. He was placed in a senior high school class. When he completed it he was awarded a high school diploma. After graduating high school LaPorta took off to see the United States. He wanted to see if what he learned in his history books back in Italy was true. He especially wanted to see the Wild West. LaPorta packed up and moved to California. His parents paid for him to buy a car and he worked part time jobs for spending money. He visited the cities he wanted to see like Dodge City and Silver City. He also visited some of the big ranches out west. LaPorta would work for four or five months then travel again. He even travelled one of the east to west cattle trails. He was very impressed. When the draft started he signed up for it. His older brother was called up in the first draft. LaPorta went almost a year without being drafted so he decided to enlist. He wanted to do his share so he joined the army. The army learned that he had previously been a truck driver so he was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky where the 1st Armored Division was being formed. LaPorta was assigned to the motor pool where he learned about tanks, halftracks, personnel carriers, weapons carriers, and tank destroyers. After eight to ten months at Fort Knox he completed basic training and was given the qualification of heavy vehicle driver. After basic training LaPorta was made an instructor teaching new recruits how to drive tanks, six by six trucks, and halftracks. He taught them to drive anything from a motorcycle to a 55 ton tank. He then got orders to ship out to North Africa. They steamed to Belfast then to Ardglass, Ireland where they trained with British troops. From Ardglass they travelled to Newcastle, Ireland then continued on to Newcastle, England where they conducted additional training. From Newcastle they were sent to a port of embarkation where they loaded their heavy equipment and boarded transports then shipped out for North Africa. LaPorta became an American citizen through his father. His father was an American citizen and had prepared for his family to join him. LaPorta had been at Fort Knox for a little over a year when he learned about the attack on Pearl Harbor. They had just returned from the Carolina Maneuvers where they had trained with their tanks and were due to get a pass. On Sunday they were waiting for the captain to give them their two week passes when they heard on the radio that Pearl Harbor was being bombed. At first they thought it was another Orson Wells story but when every station was broadcasting the same news LaPorta believed it. That was how he learned about Pearl Harbor.

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Edward LaPorta was a member of the 1st Armored Division. The first tanks they had overseas were riveted together. They called their tanks Purple Heart Boxes because when they were hit by a German 88 [Annotators Note: German 88 millimeter gun] the rivets would bounce around inside of them. LaPorta did not get a chance to see his family before he shipped out for overseas. He and the guys in his company [Annotators Note: Company G, 6th Armored Infantry Battalion, 1st Armored Division] were happy to be packing up and going to fight. At that time they were a completely different caliber of people. They really cared for their country. They spent about four months in Ireland. The Irish people were happy to have them there and treated them very well. In Ireland they conducted combat training with British soldiers. They learned the art of camouflage, how to pass orders to each other, and how to treat wounded soldiers. From Ireland they went to Newcastle, England. There they did the same thing except that they had to make sure that their vehicles were in good working order then loaded them aboard transport ships. When they boarded the transport they originally thought that they were going to Russia. Before they left the United States they had been ordered to treat their vehicles with antifreeze that could handle temperatures down to 20 degrees below zero. After being at sea for three or four days they were told that they were going to North Africa. When they got to Gibraltar they changed ships and went to different areas for the invasion. Landings were made at Casablanca, Oran, and Tangiers. Oran was the toughest place because of the harbors which were needed in order to bring in the big ships carrying their heavy equipment. They suffered heavy casualties. At the time a company was 220 men. Of the 220 men in LaPorta's company only 20 made it ashore. The Germans were in a fortress on a hill overlooking the landing beaches and were armed with heavy cannons and machineguns. LaPorta and the soldiers he landed with did not have any heavy weapons on their landing craft. All they had were their side arms, rifles, and pockets full of hand grenades. They still succeeded and captured the harbor. From Oran they were moved to another city where they received replacements and were issued new equipment. From there they were moved from place to place fighting and capturing their objectives.

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When Edward LaPorta landed in Oran all he could see was the German fortress which had two giant spotlights shining out to sea. Even though they did not have much equipment they were still able to capture the harbor. A sergeant from LaPorta’s company took a .50 caliber machinegun off of their landing craft, rested it on his knee, and used it to knock out the two big spotlights. As soon as he hit the second spotlight he was hit and killed. When LaPorta’s unit landed they did not have any tanks or heavy equipment with them. They did not have the shipping to get them to shore. It was two weeks or so after the landings when they finally got their tanks. They were finally brought back up to full strength about three weeks after the invasion. When their new equipment started coming in the first things they got were halftracks. The first battle LaPorta was in he was driving a half track. They did not get their tanks until later. After being brought back up to full strength the first battle LaPorta’s unit took part in was at Sidi Balabus [Annotators Note: unsure of spelling]. That battle was followed by the battle of El Guettar. Those were the first good battles he was involved in. LaPorta did not know what to expect in combat other than that he would be shot at. There was fear at first but after the first battle that no longer enters the mind. They were given orders and they carried out those orders. During that war there was no time off. Today combat soldiers get time off and get to go home. LaPorta is not being envious. He is glad that they are able to do that. If they did get pulled off the battlefield another unit replaced them on the line for a day or two. When they got leave the first thing they did was sleep. Then they looked for food. Usually they had C rations but sometimes they were lucky and came across a food truck. LaPorta was in an armored unit and since they were always moving they rarely came across food trucks. To headt their food they would opened the cans and place them on the engine to heat them up.

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Edward LaPorta was a halftrack driver during his first battle. He remembers that they had nothing to fight with except guts, determination, and love of country. The 37 millimeter guns they had would only scratch the paint on Tiger tanks [Annotators Note: German Mark VI main battl tanks, also referred to as the Tiger]. The first halftrack LaPorta drove in combat was armed with a .50 caliber machinegun and was crewed by a gunner, driver, and assistant driver. The assistant driver usually made sure that the gunner had ammunition. There were usually five men in a half track. LaPorta’s half track pulled a 37 millimeter gun behind it which was manned by a regular gun crew. There were also halftracks with big rollers on the front of them which housed steel cable that were used to pull tanks out when they got stuck. The Germans they faced were very tough fighters and their Tiger tanks were mean tanks. When LaPorta’s outfit got their first tanks they felt a little bit safer. They really started feeling safer when the Shermans [Annotators Note: M4 Sherman medium tank] and Grants [Annotators Note: M3 Grant medium tank] came in. The riveted tanks they first used had a 75 caliber [Annotators Note: 75 millimeter] gun on them that were good for antipersonnel but only did some damage against tanks. The replacement tanks they got were armed with a 105 millimeter rifled cannon. That put them on an even keel with the enemy. The soldiers learned a lot in combat. They followed the orders they received and at the same time learned from the mistakes they made carrying out those orders. They would tell the company commander that they felt things should have been done one way or another and he would analyze it. Their company commander led from the front and was out there with them. The tanks out in front could learn more and would pass that information on. That meant a lot. It was on the job training. During the war LaPorta served in Company G, 6th Armored Infantry, 1st Armored Division. After the first battle they went to Kasserine Pass. That was a very tough battle for both the Americans and the Germans. The Americans and Germans were on an even keel as far as heavy equipment went. The 105 was just as good, if not better, than the 88. The shells had a soft nose so they did not slide. Where they hit they stuck. That gave them quite an advantage. To LaPorta, Kasserine Pass was the most dangerous place to fight because it was very fortified and heavily guarded. Every soldier at Kasserine Pass fought with determination and pride.

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When Edward LaPorta was in training all of the guys in the outfit were very good friends. After going through their first combat they were no longer friends. They were brothers. One time they were not moving while they were awaiting orders when a squadron of German dive bombers showed up and strafed them. A soldier who was not in LaPorta’s company screamed. LaPorta looked up and saw that the man was crawling across the ground. LaPorta figured that the man was wounded so he grabbed a first aid kit and ran to the man. The man had a shattered arm that was just hanging by the skin. Both of the bones were broken. LaPorta gave the man two shots of morphine then went back to his tank to find something to use as a splint. He put sulphanilamide on the man’s arm then wrapped it in gauze. He then strapped a German bayonet to the man as a splint and put a tourniquet on him using the man’s boot lace. The whole time he was doing this the German dive bombers were still strafing the area. LaPorta pulled the man by his feet next to a disabled vehicle. There were medics nearby who were very busy. LaPorta got somebody’s attention and let them know that there was a wounded man there. He then got in his tank and moved out. LaPorta never saw or heard anything about the man again. The first time they fought at Kasserine Pass LaPorta was still a halftrack driver. During their first pass at Kasserine Pass they did not have any heavy equipment and were not able to do anything but hold their positions. LaPorta feels that it was unfair for them to have been sent there without the equipment they should have had. But they did hold their own. LaPorta knew that the Germans felt that the Americans could not do anything to them since they did not have anything to fight with. LaPorta was very frustrated. Prior to going into battle in North Africa LaPorta had received no desert training. The Germans had been fighting in the desert for two or three years before the Americans got there. The Americans learned on the job and they accomplished their mission. LaPorta was captured in North Africa at the Kasserine Pass.

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Edward LaPorta does not recall anything special about the battles at Gafsa and El Guettar. Battles are all the same. The only real difference was the terrain. They always tried to go into battle with the idea that they had a tough nut to crack and that the enemy was well prepared for them. Having a good commanding officer was another thing that made a difference. The only thing that stands out to LaPorta about Kasserine Pass is how well the place was guarded. He did not give anything else any thought. They just carried out their orders. Sometimes they would get intelligence on what the Germans had in a certain area. Then they would focus on that. Other than that a battlefield is a battlefield. Terrain has something to do with it. The fortification of the enemy has something to do with it. The time of day has something to do with it. Those are the only things to look for. At Kasserine LaPorta was mostly a halftrack driver but was qualified to operate almost everything. During the battle the Germans got to within about 100 or 200 yards with their tanks. Infantry was part of the armored units. There was armored infantry that was able to fight on the ground. The unit LaPorta served in was the 6th Armored Infantry, 1st Armored Division. It was a very well trained outfit. LaPorta was an original member of the 1st Armored Division. When he first got to Fort Knox they still had horses. The division had originally been the 1st Horse Cavalry Division. When the German units came into view LaPorta wondered what was going to happen. They adapted themselves to what their situation was and carried out the orders they were given. They had to wait for orders before they could make any movement forward or back. The commanding officer should know more than the soldiers do. A good commanding officer would ask them their opinion. Regardless of whether he was driving a tank or a halftrack he always drove a command vehicle with an officer less than a first lieutenant in it. LaPorta’s commanding officer was Lieutenant Harvey. Harvey was one of the greatest officers. He would go to the gunner and driver and ask their opinion of the situation. The first thing LaPorta had been told to do was to take note of his surroundings in case they had to retreat or advance. The commanding officer does not know exactly what a vehicle can or will do so a good officer would ask his crew.

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At Kasserine Pass Edward LaPorta was set up at about the middle of the pass. They were on an outpost and there was a river nearby. All of the guys took their clothes off and took a bath. The first thing LaPorta did when he got to the outpost was look at the ground. He made a mental note as to how he could get his halftrack out of the area if the Germans came up the hill. LaPorta feels that soldiers should pay attention during training because it can save lives in combat. LaPorta feels that the first thing to do in combat is to analyze the situation as completely as possible. He also believes that they should have found out what the Germans would do when the Americans entered the pass. If they knew what the Germans had they would have a better idea of what the Germans would do when they advanced. LaPorta helped capture a lot of German equipment including tanks, halftracks, personnel carriers, guns, and ammunition. They usually could not use the captured guns except for in a pinch. They were never in a position where they had to use captured weapons. They just disabled them. They would use captured vehicles to infiltrate German lines. The worst memory LaPorta has of the Battle of Kasserine Pass was retreating. It was demoralizing. It also made them second guess themselves. The order they wished they heard all the time was advance, advance, advance. When commanders got orders to do something they wanted to know what kind of equipment the enemy had facing him. The only way to find out was to send scouts behind the lines to take a look. The scouts in LaPorta’s unit were all volunteers. When the call went out for volunteers LaPorta volunteered along with six others. They got a wheeled vehicle that was big enough to seat all of them comfortably. LaPorta had his pistol. They also had a .50 caliber machinegun and their personal rifles. They were not planning to go into combat. They only wanted the ability to fire back at someone of they were chased. They went about five miles past the German lines and got all of the information the commanders wanted. They were driving back to the Kasserine Pass when they were completely surrounded by Germans. They were surrounded by tanks, halftracks, and foot soldiers. The only thing they had time to do was destroy their vehicle. They were then taken prisoner. They never got back to the line.

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Edward LaPorta was not able to locate other members of the 1st Armored Division. He was captured by Rommel’s [Annotators Note: German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel] troops. To LaPorta Rommel was a good general who fought the war according to the Geneva Convention. On the battlefield he was a mean son of a gun but he was just doing his job. Just like LaPorta and the men he served with were doing. When they captured German prisoners they treated them like humans. They fed and treated them well. Rommel’s men were pretty decent too. They did not abuse LaPorta after he was captured. After being captured LaPorta and the other six scouts were taken to a building a couple miles away from Kasserine Pass. They were fed and given coffee. The next morning they were turned over to either Gestapo or SS troops. They were mean all the time. They were separated and LaPorta was taken to a little room. He never saw any of the others again. In the room there was a small table with two chairs. The German officer who came in to interrogate LaPorta spoke English. He asked LaPorta about what they were doing so close to the German lines and other questions. LaPorta lied for most of them and gave only his name, rank, and serial number for the rest. The enemy officer did not believe LaPorta. The officer slapped LaPorta and LaPorta called him out on it. The office then started punching LaPorta. The interrogation and beatings went on for a while. LaPorta was waiting for the two German soldiers who were holding him to soften their grip and he planned to tackle the officer. When he did make an attempt to get at the officer one of the German soldiers hit him in the back with his rifle. After that the German officer stopped the session. The officer left and LaPorta was taken to a room. A day or two later LaPorta was attached to a group of 12 to 14 guys. They were put on a small plane and told that they were being flown to Sicily. That made LaPorta happy because he was born not too far from there and knew the area. He had a fear that the Germans would throw them out of the plane. When they landed in Sicily they were put on a barge and taken across the straights of Messina over to the mainland of Sicily [Annotators Note: LaPorta means Italy].

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Edward LaPorta was placed in a camp near Reggio where there were about 75 men being held. It was a slave labor camp used to hold the POWs who had not cooperated. LaPorta was now in a position where he could escape but he did not want to. The Germans were stocking ammunition up on a hill overlooking the camp. They assumed correctly that at some point the Americans would land in Sicily then cross the straights and get onto the mainland. LaPorta and the other POWs in the camp were tasked with carrying the ammunition from the foot of the hill to the top of the hill where the guns would be set up. LaPorta told several officers that they were breaking the Geneva Convention by having them haul ammunition but the Germans just said that it was war. The prisoners lived in pup tents. The shells were heavy and each shell was carried by two men. One of the guys with LaPorta knew about ammunition. He had the other POWs distract the guards so he could remove the nose of one of the shells to see what was in it. When he saw that he could disarm the shells the POWs started doing it, but on a somewhat irregular basis. That was the reason LaPorta did not want to escape from the camp. He knew that they were saving a lot of lives and the way he saw it, he was fighting the war from the prison camp. LaPorta has met veterans who took part in the invasion of mainland Italy. One of those veterans approached him at a Prisoner of War convention and told him that when he made the landing at Reggio some of the German shells that landed near him were duds.

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Edward LaPorta does not recall the date he was captured at Kasserine Pass in North Africa. He believes that the reason he was captured was because they had been ordered to send the information they learned back to the commanding officer over the phone. When a person goes on a mission like that there are three things that can happen but only one of them is good. They could get back to their own lines, they could be captured, or they could be killed. LaPorta believes that when he volunteered his commanding officer was glad. LaPorta was always able to find his way out of the desert even when it was dark. He made it through the war but knows nothing about the other six men captured with him. LaPorta was held in the work camp for about five months. From there he was sent to Stalag III-B in Furstenberg, Germany. The POWs were put on box cars at the train station in Reggio. Next to the train station was a school that the Germans had filled with ammunition, food, and other war supplies. There were no kids in that school. They did not fight the war according to the Geneva Convention. There were also spies everywhere, American and German. The Americans knew that there were no kids in that school but they did not know that the POWs were being moved on the day they were and bombed the school. They train got out of the station safely and the POWs started on their trip to Germany. LaPorta was on the train for about four days. They did not have anything to eat. There was no breeze coming through because the doors were locked. At one of the places they stopped they saw a push wagon loaded with candy. The prisoners raided the wagon and the German guards did not try to stop them. The candy held them over for a couple more days. After a couple of days it started to smell very bad in the boxcar. They did stop at another camp for about two or three days. Then they were put on another train. While they were on the train from Reggio to Germany they stopped in Naples. The Italian soldiers manning the camp they stopped in fed the prisoners very well. Italy was never at war against the United States. At the time Italy was divided into two governments. The camp they stopped in was run by troops of King Victor Emmanuel III. There were also a few Germans there but not many. LaPorta had been wounded in the ankle during the bombing raid at Reggio and was treated at the camp in Naples by the king’s troops. After four or five days at the camp in Naples they were shipped to Stalag III-B and from there to Stalag II-B where the ovens and the gas chambers were. Stalag III-B was a bad prison camp. The prisoners did what they could to make it livable. The food was not even good enough to be called food. Once a day they got a bowl of very watery rutabaga soup. If they were lucky they got a piece of rutabaga in it. The only thing the guys really got to eat was what they were able to buy from the Russians. They were supposed to get a Red Cross package per person per month but the Germans had a good time eating them. Every two or three months they would get a Red Cross package for two people to share. It was not much but it was better than nothing. When LaPorta’s parents found out what camp he was in his parents started sending him packages. The POWs were allowed by the Germans to have one package sent to them per month. LaPorta’s parents sent him packages every month but he only ever received one of them. When the guys got packages from home they shared them with the other POWs. They never hoarded them. When they got stuff from the Russians they shared that too. They paid a visit to the Russians almost every night. Other than what the prisoners were able to do with it the camp was in sad shape. The buildings had window openings and frames but no glass in them. They had no hot water or heat in the buildings. On some mornings LaPorta would have to take a cold water shower with snow blowing in on him.

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To Edward LaPorta, everything in the camp [Annotators Note: Stalag III-B in Furstenberg, Germany] was in sad shape but they did have the camp under control as far as the guards were concerned. The guards would see them jumping the fence to get to the Russian compound or with members of the underground. They would meet with members of the Russian underground, Italian underground, and French underground. The Italian and French underground got them whatever they asked for. They supplied all of the parts they needed for the radio. Sometimes they would buy food from the underground using cigarettes for currency. The POWs were multi billionaires with cigarettes because people, families, tobacco companies, Red Cross, the American Legion, and others all sent them cigarettes. They would bribe the guards. To get something really expensive they would buy silk stockings from the French underground. They could buy half of Germany with a pair of silk stockings. They could get anything they wanted except food. They could not get food from any of the underground. They had a tunnel that was engineered by a POW who had built bridges before. He let the POWs know what they had to do to keep the sandy ground from collapsing in on them. They got a new guard one time who was a young recruit. The POWs could not even talk to him. Whenever they tried he would send them away. They had to figure out a way to get rid of him. Each compound had its own main gate. The main gate going into LaPorta’s compound was what the new guard patrolled. To get the guards to come running two of the POWs started a fight. Before they had started the commotion they had dug a small trench to bury the gate in. When the commotion started two guys took the gate and buried it. Then all of the POWs went inside. Less than a half hour later they heard screaming outside. Some of the Germans came into the barracks rooms asking about the gate. The POWs blamed the guard. The young guard was gone the next day and was replaced by an elderly gentleman. Most of their guards were men that were not fit for combat duty.

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Edward LaPorta and his fellow POWs got a lot of things done in the camp [Annotators Note: Stalag III-B in Fursetenberg, Germany]. They even constructed a church. The Jewish soldiers asked the minister who conducted the services every Sunday if could get a rabbi into the camp. He said that he doubted it. They suggested that the minister have the rabbi dress like a priest. Even though he was taking a big chance he brought the rabbi in and the rabbi performed a service along with the minister. One of the POWs was a communication engineer who said he could build a radio if they got him the parts. The other POWs went to the underground and got him what he needed. He made the radio and the POWs were able to listen to the BBC. They knew more about what was going on than the Germans did. As an antenna they used a length of barbed with which was strung up as a clothes line. Inside the barracks room they just used a piece of regular wire. To stay occupied they got baseballs, baseball bats, and gloves but every time they got something that was to their benefit they got punished. They were put into solitary and only given one small slice of bread and one cup of water per day. When the Geneva people [Annotators Note: officials from the International Red Cross] came around the POWs would complain. The problem would be rectified but the guys who had complained were separated from the rest of the POWs and put into a small room that the Germans called the hole. They would spend seven or ten days in the hole. The POWs also built a theater in the camp. A bunch of them got punished for it. Then they put together an orchestra and got punished for that too. They got the instruments through the Red Cross or from other organizations. They got lumber through the Red Cross and used that for the theater. They also made a revolving stage in the theater. Spinelli [Annotators Note: US Army photographer Angelo Spinelli] was a photographer who was captured and put in the same camp LaPorta was in. Spinelli bribed the guards with cigarettes to get him a camera. Then he took pictures of the guards every time they bribed them. The camera and 1,200 photographs are at Andersonville [Annotators Note: at the National Prisoner of War Museum in Andersonville, Georgia]. Spinelli even took pictures of the camp sergeant Schmidt, who the POWs called Smitty. The POWs were able to get an entire orchestra worth of instruments. After the instruments arrived a delegate arrived to make sure that everything was right.

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One morning a German officer who spoke English entered the room and told Edward LaPorta and the other POWs to gather their belongings because they would be leaving the camp. The Americans were getting too close. The prisoners were being transferred from Stalag III-B to Stalag II-B in Furstenberg [Annotators Note: Stalag III-B was in Furstenberg which was the area they were leaving]. The distance they would be travelling was 85 miles and the POWs were told that they would be making the journey on foot. Anyone who could not make the trip would be shot because the Germans had no available means of transport for them. The POWs paired up for duties in the camp and LaPorta was paired with Robert Lefty Geringer [Annotators Note: unsure of spelling]. Geringer was put in solitary because he had diphtheria. On the day of the march LaPorta asked about Geringer. He was told that Geringer would either be shot or left and would starve to death. LaPorta asked if Geringer could be brought to him and he would take care of him. LaPorta made a sled out of slats from their beds and put Geringer on it. They left on the march and LaPorta pulled that sled from nine o'clock that night until six o'clock the next morning. By six o'clock in the morning LaPorta was no longer able to pull the sled because of the snow so he carried Geringer the rest of the way. Nobody helped him during the entire 85 miles but he does not blame anyone. They were looking out for themselves. LaPorta states that he was able to do it because Geringer had a child and every child needs a daddy. Geringer’s child had not been born yet when he had deployed. If he had not survived the war he would have never seen the child. LaPorta and the other POWs he was with were liberated by the Russians. The entire group in the camp stayed in one large tent with a straw floor. They were there for about four months. When the Russians got close the Germans left.

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Edward LaPorta and the other POWs did not hear them [Annotators Note: the German guards] leave and did not know what was going on. When they realized that there were no guards they left the camp and were walking away when they ran into the Russians. The Russians wanted to take them back to Russia. The POWs resisted that plan. As they were talking with the Russians a convoy of American tucks arrived to pick them up. After boarding the trucks the POWs were taken to a town where they spent the next four or five days. They were fed four or five small meals a day to get them back into shape. The POWs were then put on a plane and flown to Camp Lucky Strike where, again, they were fed little by little. In Le Havre they boarded Liberty ships. That is where LaPorta and Geringer parted company. They promised to cross paths again. Some 14 months later LaPorta visited Geringer and his family and spent a month with them. LaPorta drove to Geringer's house. When he was 100 miles or 50 miles from Bloomsburg he put his maps away. He and Geringer had talked about it so much that he knew exactly how to get there. When he arrived, LaPorta got out of his car and went to the door. A young girl with a baby answered the door. She recognized him right away and gave him a hug and thanked him. [Annotators Note: LaPorta gets emotional when he tells the story.] When Geringer’s wife Betty let him go he picked up the kid that was on the floor tugging on his pants leg. The kid thanked LaPorta for her daddy. Geringer was at work when LaPorta got there so he went to surprise him. Jobs were hard to come by at first. Geringer was working for a poultry company raising chickens. When LaPorta showed up Geringer dropped an entire crate of eggs. The following day Geringer had to go to New York to deliver a load of eggs and chickens. He insisted that LaPorta go with him. Geringer did not like to drive. Geringer bought a motor home and whenever LaPorta went on a trip with him he did all the driving. They made their deliveries in New York then made more in New Jersey. LaPorta and Geringer had a great time. At one point they forgot to tie the chicken cage down and when they made a turn the cages fell of and broke and all of the chickens were running all over the place. When a young policeman showed up he noticed that they were veterans and let them go.

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When Edward LaPorta was in North Africa they wore a combat suit. At night they put on heavier clothes because it gets cold in the desert. It is important for people to continue to study World War 2. It is also very important for there to be museums dedicated to the military. People go crazy at sporting events. LaPorta wrestled when he was a kid in Italy. He also wrestled during the one year he went to school in the United States but athletics are not his priority. His priority is his country and his person. When LaPorta talks to groups the point he stresses is that freedom will not be free unless it is fought for. The younger generations expect everything to be handed to them. LaPorta is proud of the men and women who serve today. He thanks them whenever he sees them. He wears his World War 2 veteran hat with pride.
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