Segment 1


Joseph Hochadel served in the 34th Infantry Division, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battalion as a combat medic. He was born in 1924 in Newark, New Jersey. He went through grammar school and got through three years of high school. Hochadel left school to support his family. His father got him a job helping an auto mechanic. Shortly after that he got another job working for a linoleum factory. After the factory Hochadel was drafted. Hochadel was born on 13 December. Two weeks after his birthday he got a notice from the draft board requesting that he report for a physical. Hochadel passed the physical no problem. Hochadel was indoctrinated and trained for about two weeks before heading off to Camp Pickett, Virginia for basic training. They thought Hochadel would be best suited for the medics. He took a course which was about eight to 12 weeks long which taught him how to be a combat medic. Hochadel did not have any qualifications except for the answers to his test. Hochadel’s training was mostly in sterile techniques and bandaging. They taught him how to check the vital signs and how to apply a tourniquet. That took about eight to 12 weeks. In the meantime they qualified Hochadel to drive a jeep. Hochadel was then sent to Pennsylvania for a brief stay and then on to a place near Boston. They eventually were sent back to Newport, Virginia to go overseas. It was April or May of 1944. Hochadel was sent overseas on an LST. He went over with the guys that he trained with. One fellow was from Hochadel’s hometown. They landed in Oran, North Africa. From there they went through the Straits of Gibraltar to Casablanca. From there they were put onto boxcars which took them across Africa. By that time the 34th Infantry Division had chased Rommel across the desert. They had also accumulated about 10000 German prisoners. All of the other Germans were trying to escape to Italy. Hochadel boarded a boat which was in the general vicinity of Kasserine Pass and ended up landing in Naples, Italy in roughly June of 1944. The fighting had just stopped in Naples. There was an explosion near the harbor and one of Hochadel’s buddies yelled for Hochadel to grab a litter. They found a Catholic Priest who had his leg blown off by a mine. They put him on a litter and they all got out of there safely. That was the first gruesome experience Hochadel had. It was a scary moment. Hochadel had never been in a mine field. He did what he was supposed to do and it worked out. Right after that his squad leader passed out a piece of paper and he asked people to write down questions about combat. Hochadel told them he thought that all of the aid stations should have radios in order to expedite getting wounded men help. They all got radios in combat.


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