Frank L. Lombardo was born in January 1920 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended a boarding school in Covington, Louisiana. He had a full athletic scholarship to Loyola University and graduated in July 1941. He was drafted into the Army in 1942 and volunteered for Officer Candidate School, or OCS. He volunteered because Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. He was in an automobile when he heard the news. He was employed and in training to be a salesman prior to being drafted. Because of his graduation from college, he was placed in charge of the new inductees who were bused to Camp Beauregard, Louisiana on 4 March 1942.
Frank Lombardo was inducted into the service and became a private in the Army [Annotator's Note: on 5 March 1942]. His first duty was to clean garbage cans. There seemed little organization at the time. He was shipped to Fort Benning, Georgia. He became a mechanic in the 78th Quartermaster Battalion which did third echelon maintenance work. Initially placed in charge of vehicle and personnel records, he soon learned to weld by visiting the shops and observing the work. He was an athletic young man but boot camp reduced his weight. After a few months, he decided to go to OCS, officer candidate school. Rather than infantry or paratrooper training, he opted to attend engineering school. Lombardo was familiar with food preparation because of his father's bakery business. He was quizzed about that and New Orleans for his OCS examination. He passed the test and was sent to Fort Balboa, Virginia for engineering school. In three months, he became a 90 day wonder [Annotator's Note: a somewhat derogatory nickname given to military officers who recieve their commissions through a 90 day OCS traning course]. He was a second lieutenant. He stuck with the training where veterans could not. His boarding school experience helped him to be patient and pass the courses. After graduation, he was sent to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana which was close to home. He had been in the area in 1938 with family. In December 1942, he brought some of the other 90 day wonders with him to visit New Orleans. At Camp Claiborne, he was assigned to the 498th Engineer Heavy Shop Company. It was a support group that was fifth echelon. The non-commissioned officers that worked with Lombardo in the company were great. Many of the men in his group were from New York. They were experienced mechanics and had volunteered. Lombardo was very lucky during the war. He preferred combat against the Germans. He was luckily sent to Camp Shanks in New York for deployment. Lombardo was taken on liberty by a New York native prior to shipping out. There were 5,000 troops aboard the Queen Mary when she sailed across the Atlantic Ocean for Europe. Half had to sleep in the open because of lack of space. Officers had it much better than the enlisted men. After five days of sailing solo, the ship escaped a submarine attack and landed in Glasgow, Scotland. The men exited the ship in a complete blackout.
Frank Lombardo landed in Scotland and then transferred to Cambridge, England. He could hear the Germans bombing London since it was only 40 miles away. The unit [Annotator's Note: 498th Engineer Heavy Shop Company] remained in Cambridge for one year during which time he was promoted to first lieutenant. He attended a school that provided instructions on how to waterproof vehicles. That training was in anticipation of the invasion of Normandy, France. Lombardo crossed the English Channel two and a half months after the assault started. He landed on Omaha Beach about the end of August 1944. Bodies were still visible. The sight made Lombardo sick. Food was available and not an issue. His outfit had good cooks. The unit transferred to Paris for one year. The Germans left the city and the Americans took it over. Lombardo did fifth echelon maintenance work on heavy equipment such as bulldozers and road and bridge building vehicles. The war ended while Lombardo was stationed in Paris. The French citizens were joyful that the Allies were there. Lombardo experienced a different civilian reaction in locations outside of Paris. Those civilians were not quite as happy for them to be there. With the end of the war, Lombardo took a leave and went to Cannes, France. It was beautiful. He returned to his company with a great tan. The company was preparing to go to Japan for the completion of the war there when the atomic bombs were dropped and that war ended.
It took about six months for Frank Lombardo to be discharged in the United States. Lombardo felt he was a lucky man during the war. He remained in the inactive Reserves after his discharge. He was called back to service five years after his discharge. He was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia. He moved his family there for six months. He and his wife enjoyed their life there before he had to ship out to Seattle, Washington. He lost his footlocker full of his clothing. He then went to Canada and ultimately flew to Tokyo, Japan with only the clothes on his back. From there, he voyaged to Pusan, Korea. He was transferred to Seoul, Korea near the North Korean border. He was assigned to a bridge building engineering company as the battalion adjutant. He was sent back to Pusan from Seoul. En route, he had taken his boots off and woke up with his boots stolen. All he had to wear on his feet were Japanese slippers. He oversaw Korean prisoners. Lombardo contracted bowel problems for 30 days. He discovered military information allowing inactive Reserve officers to apply for an honorable discharge. Lombardo proceeded to do so and was successfully discharged. Meanwhile, the family bakery business in New Orleans had been managed by a cousin. The relative ruined it. Lombardo worked for another bakery until he was laid off. In applying for other work, he constantly heard that he was overqualified. He finally found a firm in need of a comptroller. It was a large business and Lombardo remained with them for years until the World's Fair [Annotator's Note: 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans, Louisiana]. He ultimately retired when he was 76 years old. He moved northeast of New Orleans. Lombard saw World War 2 as a big adventure. He was a lucky man. It was unbelievable to see the dead on the Normandy beach. It is amazing that he survived.
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