Dominic Geraci was born 5 August 1923 in Chicago [Annotator’s Note: Illinois]. He and his two sisters grew up in the city. His father worked part time as a foreman in a factory and his mom stayed home. His father served in World War I and was gassed. Later, he worked in a hospital, but did not talk about it with the family. Geraci lived half a block from his elementary school. When he started fifth grade, he started walking six blocks to a different school. As a kid, Geraci played ball [Annotator’s Note: baseball] in the streets. He favorite baseball team was the Chicago Cubs but he also liked Notre Dame [Annotator’s Note: University] Football. When he graduated high school, he wanted to go to engineering school. He thought he would get a job in the aircraft business. After finishing his year at the American School of Engineering, Geraci was drafted. During school, he did night classes and worked at RCA [Annotator’s Note: Radio Company of America] during the day.
Dominic Geraci was drafted in February 1943. His dad did not feel much about his being drafted. His mom was more upset. He was proud do his part to help the country. He went to boot camp at Camp Grant, Illinois. He thought he would be drafted into the Air Corps, but he became a medic. Geraci went to technical school in high school and liked to tinker with things. He knew he was going to be drafted so he went to the draft board to be voluntarily inducted. He adapted to boot camp quickly, but missed being home. In less than four months, he was sent to Northern Ireland where he was trained to be a surgical nurse. He was sick most of his time on the ship over to Europe. It took 17 days to get to England. He enjoyed being in Ireland. He was assigned to the 9th Field Hospital. Geraci lived in a Quonset hut. He had a difficult time understanding what the locals would say to him. Every night, Geraci and a sergeant would go to a local pub. He became friends with the owner of the pub. In mid-February 1944, Geraci was sent to England where he trained in emergency medical situations.
Dominic Geraci knew there would be an invasion, but did not know when or where. His was in a replacement unit that attached to the 29th Infantry Division after the invasion. The unit kept moving around and he would lose friend from the transfers. Geraci was in the second wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day [Annotator's Note: Allied invasion of Normandy, France on 6 June 1944]. He remembers steel barricades. He landed in waist deep water and lost all of his supplies. He resupplied on the beach with the other medics and started working. Geraci does not like to talk about what he saw. He was taking care of bodies. It took 20 years before he could talk about what he saw in the military. The hedgerows were terrible. There were a lot of casualties. It was difficult to see and sometimes that led to friendly fire incidents. Geraci and another medic were asked to help some officers pinned down by German fire. The two medics made it to the officers and pulled them to safety without being wounded. Geraci was awarded the Bronze Star [Annotator's Note: the fourth-highest award a United States service member can receive for a heroic or meritorious deed performed in a conflict with an armed enemy] for that action. He figured he was just doing his job. Most of his work was tending to the wounded. When he landed on the beach, Geraci did not think he would make it. He thought that constantly. The beach was loud and he had to work in those conditions for hours. Later in the war, he tended to lightly wounded Germans. He worked hard to stop bleeding wounds. He believes his training helped him on the beach. He felt like a chaplain a lot of the time. He tried to make the wounded as comfortable as possible.
Dominic Geraci was overseas for 26 months. He stayed with the 175th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division. He was used to harsh winter weather, so he did not mind it when it came. Geraci had too many points at the end of the war. He was assigned to occupation duty in England. He was in the service until January 1946. During the Battle of Saint-Lo [Annotator's Note: Saint-Lo, France], he was helping an infantryman and then woke up in a hospital. He was in a coma for three weeks. He was transferred back to England for treatment. He then served in a general hospital in England where he took care of wounded troops. The first time he tried to help a wounded soldier, he picked the man up and his arm fell off. Geraci tried to do what he was trained to do. He thinks the military wanted to get rid of as many people as possible. His final rank was PFC [Annotator's Note: Private First Class]. When he returned home, Geraci went back to work at RCA [Annotator's Note: Radio Corporation of America]. He did practically everything at the company. He retired in 1987.
Dominic Geraci is proud of his service. He believes it made a man out of him. He is happy he could serve his country. His most memorable experience is the invasion [Annotator's Note: D-Day; the Allied invasion of Normandy, France on 6 June 1944]. Everyone was sick on the boats. He wishes he could forget a lot of what happened. He does not mind talking about his experience if people are interested. He thinks older people appreciate the war, but not the younger people. Geraci believes The National WWII Museum [Annotator's Note: in New Orleans, Louisiana] does a good job of showing the history of the war. He got used to working for RCA [Annotator's Note: Radio Corporation of America] and enjoyed the job. During the invasion, he was happy to be on land. There was so much confusion. Once he was given direction, he did his job. His training kicked in and helped him. He remembered a doctor from New York that helped him. Overall, Geraci is glad he was in the service.
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