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Normandy 44


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are moulded after the ones of GI's who died in Périers or its area

Tullio Micaloni (1913-1944)
By his brother Lewis Michelony Jr

Luigi et Columba,
Tullio's Parents

Tullio Micaloni (1913-1944)
Tullio Micaloni

Tullio Micaloni was born on April 9, 1913, in Oneida, Pennsylvania, the third of six children of Luigi Micaloni (the family name was encountered written with different spellings : Micaloni, Micalon, Michelon, Michelony, Michelonly) and Columba Rossi, immigrants from the Val di Cembra, located in the Alto Adige region of the Tyrol in Austria. That area now belongs to Italy.

Luigi has emigrated to the United-States in 1903
Luigi has emigrated to the United-States in 1903 at the age of 20, partly to escape military service. Prior to that, he has worked at the Nadelo Hotel in Verla and is reputed to have learned the trade of wine making.

Columba follows Luigi. The couple gets married in 1908
Columba follows Luigi in 1907 and the couple is married May 2, 1908, and settles in Oneida. Luigi's surname on his marriage certificate is recorded as Michelon. Oneida is a mining company town where Luigi is employed as a mine worker.

Luigi, Gemma, Tullio, Alma, Elda, Lewis...
When Tullio was born, he had an older brother and sister, Luigi 4, and Gemma, 2. When Tullio is one year old, little Luigi dies at the age of five of food poisoning from berries he has found growing in the wild. It is interesting to note that the date of his death is July 26, 1914, exactly thirty years prior to Tullio's death at war on July 26, 1944..

Columba follows Luigi. The couple is married in 1908
The following year his sister Alma was born ; a sister Elda, two years after ; and on May 14, 1920, a sixth child, his brother Lewis (author of this biography) was born. Alas, hours after this birth, Tullio and his sister Gemma cling to each other as they witnessed their mother's death, Columba.

...then Arthur and Lena
Columba's sister, Romana, a forty-year-old widow with three children, who has already made plans to emigrate to America, immediately sets out from Rabbi to care for the family. She arrives with two of her children, the third left with grandparents because of illness. Although Romana has hoped to send later for this child, he does not survive. It is thought that he dies of tuberculosis. Before Tullio is eight, his aunt Romana has married his father in December 1920. Her two children are added to the family--Arthur, 13, and Lena, 9--and the suddenly expanded family takes up residence in Sheppton, a mile distant from Oneida.

Work in the mines is hazardous

Tullio Micaloni (1913-1944)
Tullio Micaloni

The twin villages of Oneida and Sheppton are small settlements of coal mining families, immigrants from Europe. They are situated near to the city of Hazelton, in a rural area of beautiful, forested, high mountains where there are abundant fishing and hunting and berry picking; where bear roam freely and snakes keep the residents on the alert. Sheppton is not a company town as these families own their own homes. However, the Cox Brothers Mining Company has jurisdiction over every aspect of their employment and, consequently, their purchasing power. Work in the mines is hazardous and pay is low. Mine cave-ins and gas explosions are frequent. There are no accident insurance or unemployment compensation. Miners have to pay their own medical bills and suffer the loss of pay during recuperation.
Because of long hours underground, they seldom see the light of day. Still, the families bond together to care for widows, injured workers and their children ; and to celebrate on Sundays and holidays with games and dancing and drinking at the local saloons.

Tullio is gentle, quiet, withdrawn
Here is where Tullio grows up. These events greatly shape his character. Tullio is gentle, quiet, withdrawn, "like a saint," his sister Gemma recalls. He loves the out-of-doors, the beauty of his mountain home. He learns early to fish and to hunt small game and is pleased to provide such food for his family.

The history of the founding of the Sacred Heart Parish of Weston - Nuremberg dates back to the arrival in Hazleton, Pa., of Rev. Nicholas Forve as pastor of the Holy Trinity German Church in June of 1887

At the age of 10, Tullio is sent to a school run by Fathers
At the age of ten, his father sends him, with a group of local boys, to a school in Waltham, Massachusetts, run by the Stigmatini Fathers. The purpose of this school is to produce missionaries for the so called primitive regions of the world. The training is harsh, the discipline sometimes cruel. Tullio is unhappy here. In two years' time, he is discharged from the school, physically ill, his spirit broken. His father is deeply disappointed.

Tullio becomes a promising and earnest student
Home again, Tullio recuperates the following year. At public school, he is a promising student, intelligent and earnest. However, the local high school provides only two years of schooling. When Tullio completes these, the Great Depression has begun. His family impoverishes, he is unable to further his education.

Tullio insists on getting home each night
Impelled by the need to help support his family, Tullio works at whatever jobs he can find but always refuses to work in the coal mines. Jobs are temporary. He learns to box, but he won't accept boxing matches in distant cities. He insists on getting home each night.

In 1936, Tullio joins the Army
Eventually, in 1936, at the age of 23, he joins the Army, grateful for the privilege of permanent employment. With the 59th Coast Artillery in the Phillipines, he uses his boxing experience to become a welterweight champion.

Tullio has found the life he loves

Tullio Micaloni (1913-1944)
Tullio Micaloni

In January, 1939, he transfers to the 11th Cavalry headquartered at The Presidio in Monterey, California. With this Regiment, Tullio is completely happy and content. He has found the life he loves.

Luigi dies in 1939 from miner's asthma
However, his father has developed black lung disease (miner's asthma). Tullio travels home for Christmas in 1938 and realizes his father's health is failing. Luigi dies in April, 1939, at the age of 56. Tullio is unable to attend the funeral.

Tullio enjoys the rigors of military horsemanship
In late 1940, the 11th Cavalry is moved to camps in southern California. There are tough training in the hills near San Diego followed by practice operations throughout the states of the west coast. He enjoys and masters the rigors of military horsemanship. Then everything changes.

In 1941, cavalry regiments are unnecessary
With the onset of World War II in December, l941, cavalry regiments are considered unnecessary. They are de-activated in 1942 and the men are transferred to the 10th Armored Division. Ill-equipped for this type of activity, they are sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, to learn about tanks. Further specialized training in the tactics of tank warfare hones their skills. In September, 1943, the men of the 11th Cavalry become part of the newly-formed 712th Tank Battalion. They are ready to go to war.

The 712th Battalion, major force, lands on June 30, 1944
The 712th is a major force in the many battles for the Liberation of France and the move eastward into Czechoslovakia.

On June 30, 1944, the Battalion lands on French shores. The tanks thread their way through the wreckage on Omaha-Beach, the debris left over from the D-Day assault of June 6.

On July 3, the 712th Battalion gets a 9-day-long baptism of fire !
July 3 is their baptism of fire, the beginning of a nine-day encounter with German troops, for the seizure of Mont-Castre (Hill 122) and Le Plessis (Beaucoudray). Supporting various regiments of the 90th Infantry Division, every component of the 712th is utilized.
B Company, Tullio's Company, participates in the move toward Saint-Jores ; C and D Companies fight at Sainte-Suzanne-en-Bauptois, Lithaire and Forêt de Mont-Castre (Hill 122) ; and A Company supports glider regiments of the 82nd Airborne, between Prétot, Varenguebec and Brocquebœuf. Intense fighting sometimes continue day and night. B Company continues southward and joins C and D Companies in vanquishing the Germans from the Foret, and then drive on to the Seves River. For eight days, there is a massive clean-up of the combat areas. Tanks are maintained and repaired. Briefings for the next battle are held. There is also time for rest, relaxation and personal hygiene. Then, on July 22, an attack on Seves Island (Saint-Germain-sur-Sèves) is launched.

Late on July 26, Tullio's tank strikes a stack of mines
On July 26, another battle is engaged to take Périers. For this purpose, a Platoon from B Company, Tullio's Platoon, joins the D Company of the 712th Battalion to support the 359th Infantry Regiment. Periers will be liberated on July 27, but the evening before, Tullio's tank struck a stack of land mines, near the Ford of Hausley Quarry.

His young brother, Lewis Michelony Jr., tells his memories about his brother Tullio :
"I remember Tullio as a very special person. He would be hard to forget"
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Also read, between other documents, his last letter to his mother, written on June 3rd

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Sergeant Tullio Micaloni died at 31, before entering in Périers. He is buried with his fallen comrades in Saint-Laurent Cemetery, Colleville, Normandy, under the grave D-2-35

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