SSgt. Edward M. Chorzempa’s medals and badges

Edward M. Chorzempa was born in Pascoag, Rhode Island, on June 3, 1921. His parents are Mr. Micheal and Mrs. Caroline (a.k.a. Carolina) Chorzempa. Edward had one sister Eldgia and one half-brother Martin (died on December 4, 1961). Before and during WWII, Edward and his parents lived at 3 St. Farnum Street in Blackstone, Massachusetts. His sister Eldgia worked at Finkelstein & Sons and his mother was there in charge of the synthetic rubber division. Finkelstein's was a family business operated by the Finkelstein Brothers; Elliot, Noah and Robert. They manufactured jackets and coats. They had a sales office located in New York City and the main office was in Woonsocket, RI. Edward was very good friends with the late Elliot Finkelstein. Edward was a stellar athlete at Blackstone high school, from which he graduated in 1938, and equally famed in amateur sports circles in Woonsocket, RI, as an outstanding swimmer, runner, basketball forward and baseball catcher and hitter. He was said to be the best sports star of Blackstone high school in a decade. Edward worked as a canvas cover repairman (canvas worker) or sewing machine operator.

Edward M. Chorzempa's sister Eldgia Wentworth, SSgt. Chorzempa and his mother Caroline
(Picture Courtesy of Chorzempa family)

Edward Chorzempa enlisted in Providence, Rhode Island, on July 11, 1942. He entered the service form Blackstone, Worcester County, Massachusetts. The component of the Army was: Army of the United States - includes the following: Voluntary enlistments effective December 8, 1941 and thereafter; One year enlistments of National Guardsman whose State enlistment expires while in the Federal Service; Officers appointed in the Army of the United States under Army Regulations 605-10. That means Edward volunteerd for the Army. He enlisted for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law.

Probably Edward Chorzempa first went to Camp Upton, Long Island for induction (nowadays site of Brookhaven National Laboratory). Processing had to be done fast, so it is likely that they went to a Camp for prosessing that was close to where the recruits lived. Camp Upton is located near the town of Yaphank, in the heart of Long Island’s Pine Barrens. Located about 80 miles from New York City, Upton was easily reached by the railroad network that linked the Northeast states in the 1940ties. New recruits from New York, Connecticut, and other New England states, after reporting to their local draft boards in response to a Selective Service notification, or after volunteering, were usually given orders to report to the Army’s reception center at Upton. The average reception center was often located inside a sprawling installation (others included Fort Dix, New Jersey and Fort Bragg, North Carolina). The recruit might be there four days or four weeks, depending on how long it took to process him and decide where to send him. The average stay was nine days. Recruits were evaluated mentally and physically so that they could be assigned to a particular branch of service, or even utterly rejected.

Upton was a two-hour train ride from New York’s Pennsylvania Station. For the average recruit, the journey from Manhattan to the camp was a rude awakening, especially during the winter months. The station at Yaphank was tiny and made of wood. Once off the train, there was nothing but wind, sand, and pine trees. The scrawny pines offered no shelter from the wind, which blew the coarse yellow sand particular to Long Island everywhere. Soon, the sand was in clothing, duffel bags and boots. Those who went to Camp Upton in the winter have never forgotten the frigid winds, the stinging, ever-present sand, and the stands of thin ragged pines that surrounded the whole place.

By the arrival, the recruits found themselves in a virtual sea of uniforms. They lined up in their civilian clothes, a single overnight bag at their feet, and listened alternately to the jeering of other soldiers and the barking of sergeants. Even as in World War I the boot camp was overcrowded. But with the advent of WW II, the older barracks buildings were filled with dozens of new ones. Men stayed an average of nine days at Camp Upton, before being assigned to a particular unit and shipped out to another camp for six weeks of basic training and any additional specialized instruction. They were tested for mental aptitude and physical condition, received a uniform, and got their first taste of the Army. Then, they were marched back to the train station with orders to report to places.

Camp Upton

The first procedure at Upton was for the men to drop their trousers for an examination of the genitals. The purpose was to determine whether soldiers had contracted venereal disease, and it was repeated regularly, especially whenever a soldier reported to a new post. Next, the men were subjected to a lecture on sexual morality. The men were advised that sex would weaken them and make them easy prey for the enemy. Later in the war, the lecture was replaced by graphic films on the subject of sexually transmitted diseases.

Next, the recruit received his cloths and boots. Inductees were sometimes issued entire WW I uniforms. As a followup to what the recruit heard at the induction office, he now had to listen to a reading of the complete articles, which covered military crimes. Also was some instruction given on military courtesy, as example how and when to salute, as well as some close-order drill, but not to the degree that both would be covered in basic training.

Then came the shots. The legendary injections that men referred to as “the hook”. Generally, these were the first of a series that would haunt a soldier throughout reception and basic, and they started with smallpox and typhoid inoculations. During this same period, the Army General Classification Test (AGCT) was given. A soldier who may have indicated a particular skill, like sharpshooting, would be given a special aptitude test in addition, but, by and large, the AGCT was the most important and was given to everyone. The classic version consisted of 150 multiple-choice questions that had to be completed in 40 minutes. There were three types of questions, embracing block counting, synonym matching, and simple arithmetic. “Liza had 15 books. She bought 2 more and gave 7 to her friends. How many did she have left?” The tests were machine-graded and the scores were used to place or classify the new soldier, which was the main function Camp Upton. A GI generally got his Army assignment on the basis of what he had done as a civilian. The 15-minute interview with the classification specialist (CS) was as important, sometimes, as an AGCT score. The CS recorded the inductee’s work history, education, and training, as well as the sports he played, his hobbies and his talents. These attributes were considered in the light of the Army’s needs, and the assignment was made.

The real purpose of reception centers like Upton (beyond classifying the recruit) was to begin the processes of adaptation and acceptance of the Army lifestyle. The Army liked their men young, since adaptation was easier for younger men. At least a third of the population lived in homes that lacked central heat and running water. The Army barracks offered both. The Army offered three square meals a day, shelter and clothing.

Camp Upton and the other reception centers were only way stations. Every day, men were shipped in and out, bound for one of the 242 (by 1945) training camps where they would learn the real aspects of soldiering. They never knew where they were send to. They all then made the short or long haul to another Camp or Fort. For all intents and purposes, they were in the Army now and didn’t ask questions. In a few short weeks, they would learned to follow orders.

Left: ID of the 501st PIR
Middle: 101st Airborne Division Patch
Right: Currahee ID

Edward Chorzempa volunteered for service as a paratrooper. He became part of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR). SSgt. Edward Chorzempa, was a Platoon Sergeant along with SSgt. John Milonas and SSgt. Joe Kenny. SSgt. Kenny and SSgt. Milonas were married in a double ceremony prior to going overseas. Platoon Sergeant is a duty position, not a rank; the Platoon Sergeant is the primary assistant and advisor to the Platoon Leader (Lieutenant), with the responsibility of training and caring for soldiers (and acts as the Platoon Leader in his absence).

Currahee Mountain was selected as the site for the first Parachute Infantry Training Center. Chorzempa took his pre-Jump Basic Training at the famous “Band of Brothers” Camp Toccoa, Ga. The Camp Toccoa location was first established in 1938 as a training camp for the Georgia National Guard. It was named Camp General Robert Toombs to honor a General from the War between the States. It was just a wilderness camp with no facilities until the War Department chose the location for a Paratrooper Basic Training Site shortly after WWII started. The story goes that Colonel Robert F. Sink, 506th Regimental Commander, thought that it was really bad psychology to have young soldiers arrive at Toccoa, travel Route 13 past a casket factory to learn to jump at Camp “Tombs”, so he persuaded the Department of the Army to change the name to Camp Toccoa. Original plans were for a camp that would accommodate 20.000 or more men. Two regiments with their supporting units were the maximum there at any one time, but this only occurred when the training of one regiment overlapped the training of the previous regiment.

The 501st PIR was activated in Toccoa, GA in November 1942 where the young men who volunteered for hazardous duty were given basic training, following the same idea that Colonel Sink’s 506th PIR had utilized. Colonel Howard R. Johnson was the dynamic commander of the 501st PIR. Volunteers both drafted and Regular Army, who had joined the Army to be paratroopers, arrived by trainloads, fresh from induction centers. Back then the airborne was a new element of the Army, all the men volunteered for becoming a paratrooper. Most mentioned reasons were the extra $50 “parachute pay”, or just wanting to be part of elite forces of the US Army.

Camp Toccoa

The 506th was departing for jumpschool at Fort Benning as the first volunteers for the 501st began to arrive at Toccoa. The 506th PIR troopers tossed cherry bombs into the barracks of the men from the 501st the night the 506th departed. The recruits were trained by a cadre, some of whom were already jump qualified. Putting the troops through special pre-jumpschool Basic Training at Toccoa, many men who were not capable of long distance running were weeded out of the 501st. Distance running was the main emphasis in Colonel Johnson’s book. SSgt. Edward Chorzempa passed the special pre-jumpschool Basic Training at Toccoa and became a member of the Currahees.

In spring, March, 1943, the 501st left Toccoa, one battalion at a time to attend the Parachute School at Ft. Benning, GA. The 511st and 517th regiments had arrived to train at Toccoa in the same manner, (although they were destined for different divisions). Some 501st commanders, like Major “Big Red” Shelby of 3rd Battalion, were disappointed that the regiment rode to The Parachute School (TPS) on trains. He had wanted to march there, as the 506th had done. The troops were not disappointed and Shelby was shipped out before the 501st sailed overseas.

The training was separated in 4 stages. The first three weeks the men had to march as a group, ran nine miles every morning before breakfast, learned how to fold and pack their parachutes at the packing sheds, had callisthenics in the field, starting with side-straddle hops and going the full course to push-ups and other exercises. In the next stage took one week as the two following. In this second stage the men learning how to jump out of an airplane and how to land with a parachute. In the 3rd stage they used towers for the men to practice - so their jumps would be more realistic. The final stage was formed by 5 jumps out of a C-47. The last was a jump at night involving a combat problem on landing. After jumping five times the paratroopers received the desired silver parachute wings. After that the troops received furloughs. SSgt. Chorzempa qualified at Fort Benning as parachutist. He served as an instructor there many months, finally shipping overseas to England at his own request for participation in the “big show.”

Paratrooper cap patch

After their furloughs they settled-in for many months of large unit training at Camp Mackall, N.C. On November 8, 1942, construction began on the Hoffman Airborne Camp on about 56.000 acres obtained from the Department of Interior and purchased from local landowners. There were over 1.750 buildings erected mostly of the Theater of Operations (T/O) type. The one-story T/O buildings were the most temporary construction with rough plank siding covered with tar paper. A heavier grade tar paper served as roofing material. Construction included seven service clubs, two guesthouses, three libraries, 16 post exchanges, 12 chapels, a hospital, 65 miles of roads and three 5.000 runways in a triangle. Those buildings included headquarters for the U.S. Army Airborne Command, the garrison command and the division headquarters. There were also numerous service buildings. The camp’s cantonment area was constructed with a north and south area separated by about a mile with the Station Hospital in between closer to the north area. The south barracks area were for troopers in training and contained all the services necessary to sustain them. Those troops began arriving in January 1943.

Camp Mackall greetings card

On February 8, 1943, they renamed the facility to Camp Mackall in honor of Private John Thomas Mackall, 2nd Battalion, 503rd PIR. During the Allied invasion of North-Africa in the airborne operation called Operation Torch, he was mortally wounded in an attack by French Vichy aircraft while his aircraft landed near Oran. Seven paratroopers died at the scene and several were wounded, including Mackall. He was evacuated by air to a British hospital at Gibraltar where he died on November 12, 1942. Mackall’s mother and two brothers were among family members attending the camp dedication on May 1, 1943. A bronze plaque recalling the event which injured Mackall was unveiled at a ceremony that day and installed at the division headquarters building. Later it was removed when the camp was dismantled. In the 1970ties it was misplaced and never found back. A granite monument now stands at the front of the camp.

The US Army Airborne Command moved in early 1943 from Ft. Bragg to Camp Mackall. While the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions remained garrisoned at Ft. Bragg. The troops were trained at Camp Mackall before leaving for assignments elsewhere that year. SSgt. Chorzempa and the others received basic training at Camp Mackall in addition to perfect their skills.

Jump from a C-47

By spring 1943, the division was ready to face its first test in local maneuvers. In September/October 1943, the 501st went to 2nd Army Maneuvers in Tennessee for larger scale operations. In December 1943, another round of furloughs was granted.

SSgt. Chorzempa Ready for D-Day 'Bell' - Woonsocket Call

In January 1944, SSgt. Edward Chorzempa and the others sailed to England, by way of Camp Myles Standish, MA., aboard the USS George W. Goethals. The North Atlantic was really rough in that time of the year. It was wintertime, with 45-foot waves. Nearly everyone was seasick, including some sailors. All the way across the Atlantic the smell at the ship was bad.

They landed at Glasgow, Scotland. There they took the train to camps at Newbury and Lambourne, England. They became members of the 101st Airborne Division by attachment of the 501st PIR. This was actually a disappointment in loss of identity for the original 501st soldiers, who believed Colonel Johnson’s prediction that the 501st PIR would make a name for itself as a crucial element in winning WWII.

In England, training was as hard and realistic as ever. It became increasingly oriented toward an airborne assault into German held Europe. Although none of the paratroopers knew it initially, the regiment was actually training for Operation Overlord, the top-secret Allied plan for the combined air, naval, amphibious, and airborne operations into Hitler’s Europe. As D-day drew closer, a few key commanders and staff were briefed on the part the 101st Airborne would play in Operation Overlord.

The 101st Airborne participated in three formal exercises: Beaver, Tiger, and Eagle. During Operation Beaver at Slapton Sands on the Devonshire coast, elements of the division jumped from trucks instead of planes with the mission of capturing the causeway bridges that crossed the estuary behind the beach. The division performed much the same mission during the second exercise, Operation Tiger. Operation Eagle, held during the second week of May, was the division’s dress rehearsal for its role in the coming Normandy invasion. The 101st Airborne, this time jumping from actual planes, was once again assigned to capture the causeways leading away from a simulated beach. Although a misunderstanding caused most of the division to jump at the wrong coordinates, the mission was accomplished and the exercise was considered a success. The division then returned to its stations to continue preparation for the coming battles on the continent.

Jump out of a C-47

Then, with D-day just days away, the 501st PIR, with the rest of the division, was sequestered in well guarded marshaling camps, where every man finally learned not only his own mission, but the overall mission of the 501st PIR, and the 101st Airborne Division. These very extensive and intensive briefings were to pay big dividends during the real battle.

According to plan, the D-day objectives of the 501st PIR were well concentrated. The 501st PIR’s DZ D area was at Anoville au Plain Bse. After dropping into Normandy a little to the north and east of the city of Carentan, the regiment was to press south and westward and establish the defensive position in this direction. In detail, it was to secure the line of the lower Douve River, first by seizing the strategic lock on the Canal de Vire et Taute at Le Barquette and then by blowing the river bridges. In that way, it would stand ready either to assist the advance of American forces from out of the Utah Beachhead and to the westward or to fend off any German counterattack from the eastward. From the beginning, American attention was directed at the Le Barquette lock.

The lock at Le Barquette is below Carentan as the River Douve flows and near the confluence of the river and the largest of its canals. On 6 June 1944, this was the strategic importance of the lock; that at high tide the low marshland around Carentan are below the level of the sea. The lock holds back the tide. If the lock is opened or demolished, the sea pours into the bottoms and the marshy water barrier to the east and north of Carentan become a salt lake. It seemed therefore that the device which the Germans had practiced might be turned against him. If the airborne could seize the lock intact and hold it against all counterattack by the Germans, they could use it as they wanted. In case the German forces to the eastward rebounded strongly against the Beachhead, the marshes around Carentan could be turned into a lake, imposing an extra barrier between the Germans and Americans. Or they could sit on the lock and keep the marsh draining until they were ready to go forward.

The blowing of the bridges along the causeway crossing the River Douve and its canals east of Carentan was part of the same idea. The causeway provided the one convenient path across the flood plain. Even that path would be denied the Germans if the bridges were down. Such were the main objectives of the regiment. Once these things were done and the line to the southwestward was made reasonably secure, the regiment was also to capture the town of St. Come du Mont and blow the railroad bridge across the Douve to the west of it. For these tasks, only two battalions were to be present, 3rd Battalion having been designated as the Division Reserve.

Eisenhower's visit to the men that are close before their jump into occupied France

The famous D-day Ike letter

First Battalion and the Regimental Headquarters were in the leading serial of the 501st Regiment, with the 2nd Battalion, among them SSgt. Chorzempa, coming next; serials 8 and 9 of the Division formation.

At 22.15 Hours, 432 C-47's began taking off from 7 departure airdromes in England, with 6,600 paratroops of the 101st Airborne Division. The 501st (less 3rd Battalion) was to take off from Merryfield Airport at 22.45 Hours on June 5, 1944. Originally the invasion was planned on June 5, 1944. All units were to fly across the English Channal and got dropped into Normandy, five hours prior to the seaborne landings.

The paratroopers engaged Normandy from the west. The Pathfinders were dropped at about 0.15 Hours to mark the DZ’s (Drop Zone) for the other paratroopers that would get dropped there one hour later. Most of the pilots had never been under fire. Many C-47's were shot down, killing all on board. The nav-beacons that were to guide the pilots to the drop zones by the French resistance and U.S. Pathfinders, did not get deployed. That left the pilots to navigate in the dark, blind, with little ground reference, under heavy fire. Many of the 101st and 82nd chose to jump rather than take their chances in shot up C-47s in heavy flak. That decision saved many of their lives. But this also caused highly scattered drops.

501st PIR heading for Normandy

As the flight over the Channal commenced, heading for SSgt. Edward Chorzempa’s DZ D, they stood up. The planes were overcrowded and the crew chief was supposed to be by the open door keeping the lines cleared as they exited. When the men were flying over the Cotentin Peninsula the men began to close in on the door. The first two had the task to push out an equipment bundle and release the others under the plane. Looking down, flares and tracers were spouting in all directions. Machine guns were firing at the Paratroopers. The men splashed down, some in a few feet of water in darkness and total disarray. Then the men tried to get rid of their parachute as soon as possible as there were Germans all over the place. The Paratroopers used the ditches and hedgerows to move forward. The men, often alone, tried to find other troopers. Soon little groups were formed of men from different Airborne units.

A lot of Paratroopers lost their equipment. Some paratroopers even hit other planes, because the pilots of those planes didn’t recognize the DZ’s either. In most cases Pathfinders didn’t mark the DZ’s, because they also got dropped wrong and didn’t had the time to get to the DZ to mark it for the pilots. It had been the practice of the 2nd Battalion to use a large bell and a green electric lantern for assembly following the drop. Coming into Normandy, these two markers were jumped with personnel. But both of the men were lost and so the assembly ground went unmarked. Lt. Col. Ballard came to earth right on the DZ, which put him about 600 yards to the southeast of Les Droueries.

101st Airborne drop pattern
(Click on picture to enlarge)

Lt. Col. Ballard crowled along and picked up some other lost troopers and officers. They decided to move down one more field and then split up, seeking other men. A sergeant from Company E joined them almost immediately and took a leading hand in the ingathering of the force. Lt. Col. Ballard continued moving east to the drop area, collecting a few men as he went along and sending them to the assembly point. All movement was by the ditches and along the hedges except for occasional dashes across an open field. By now the German mortar fire and small arms activity was incessant and flares were going up around St. Come du Mont. The flares were short lasting but very bright. There came more and more of them until finally there were only brief seconds of darkness. A few who had already joined his party had landed in the Carentan marshes, east of the town and north of the River Douve. Some had swum their way to temporary security, but had had to cut loose from all their equipment. They were wringing wet, but were otherwise, and for the most part, unhurt. These men thought that many of the bundles had been dropped in the marshes, also, and would not be retrieved.

Lt. Col. Ballard returned to the assembly area at 03.30 Hours. By that time, Major Bottomly had organized the men whom Lt. Col. Ballard and one sergeant of Company E and the other of D had shunted along, and had checked their weapons. There were four machine guns, 125 rifles, one bazooka and one 60mm mortar present. All of the rifle company commanders were missing and the battalion had no radio other than the one strapped on Lt. Col. Ballard’s leg.

Many men appeared to be in a dazed condition. The men who had fallen in the swamp were still wet and shivering and they walked or crawled around for warmth. But those who had landed dry dropped in their tracks and were asleep any time that the movement stopped and some even slept standing. Many were suffering from sprainsor fractures.

501st PIR on D-day
(Click on picture to enlarge)

Dawn was cracking as the companies moved out of the fields and down the hedgerows toward St. Come du Mont, which Lt. Col. Ballard proposed to assault immediately. The general fire had quieted somewhat and the column seemed to be moving away from the zone where snipers were active. The G-2 information had been that less than a platoon of the Germans would be holding St. Come du Mont. Lt. Col. Ballard and his men had already spotted the approximate locations of three machine guns between them and the town and Lt. Col. Ballard had reached the conclusion that there was a much larger force there than he had bargained on. One of his scouts had seen a German disappear into a large building at Les Droueries. They took this as a sign that some German strength lay along that flank. The attack order was issued at 04.30 Hours by Cant William E. Pelham, the S-3. The plan was that they would move against Les Droueries with two companies abreast. SSgt. Chorzempa’s Company E on the right with 30 men was to go after the farm buildings and the road crossing on that side while Company F with 30 men was to attack toward the crossroads on the left. Company D was to follow Company F.

The battalion moved out at 05.30 Hours in column formation, sticking to the hedgerows. As the light grew, Lt. Col. Ballard noticed an immediate lift in the spirits old energies of his men. They seemed to be filled with a sudden but false sense of well-being as if, now that daylight had found them, they had concluded that their major trials were over and victory was in their hands. They went about 200 yards before a break-out of German fire restored their sense of proportion.

Companies E and F's attack

Two light machine guns from HQ Company arrived just after the attack started and were put along the hedgerow in front of Company E. From this line, they could fire at the farmhouses and against the two lateral hedgerows between the company and its objective. Company E had already worked forward as far as the bend in the road when rifle and automatic fire, seeming to come from German positions grouped closely around the houses, broke all around it and stopped the advance. The bullet fire ranged down both sides of the road and was also picking away at the embankment of the forward hedgerows. A curtain of mortar fire dropped down on both roads and the field lying between them. The men of Company E went flat in the ditches almost instantly, and remained there, inert. The volume of the fire was such that after the first surprise shock, they remained pinned to earth and did not raise up even enough to answer fire with fire. Company F got no farther than Company E; in fact, the closest protecting hedgerow on the left flank was a little behind the hedgerow which gave partial protection to the men on the right. Lt. Col. Ballard, who had come along behind his reserve company, was hearing only the vaguest reports from his forward line as to the source of the mortars and machine guns which had stopped the movement. So he moved his Battalion OP up to the hedgerow corneron Company E’s flank. From there, he could locate a few German riflemen, but he could not spot the positions of any of the heavier weapons. By 07.00 Hours both companies had 7 or 8 casualties apiece, most of the losses coming from mortar fire.

Both companies tried at different times to organize a forward rush along the perpendicular hedgerows. But they lost a few men at the start and promptly recoiled. By 08.00 Hours, Lt. Col. Ballard had felt out the pressure sufficiently that he was certain the German force intended to stand its ground and could not be aborted. He could not go on and attack St. Come du Mont, for to do so would mean that he would leave a German force of unknown size on his left flank and in position to take him in rear. On the other hand, the Les Droueries position also blocked the road to where the larger elements of the regiment were supposed to be concentrating around Le Barquette.

He felt that his attack thus far had been largely futile. A few Germans in dug-in positions between Lt. Col. Ballard’s force and the first house had been killed, but there had been no abatement of the fire. While Lt. Col. Ballard was considering what to do next, Lt. Walter W. Wood arrived with 20 men. Lt. Wood was from First Battalion of the 501st PIR. The men which he had collected were all from the 506th PIR. They had fallen in with him following the drop and had come along under his leadership, looking for a fight. Lt. Col. Ballard talked the situation over with his officers and it was decided to send Lt. Wood and his group on a wide sweep around the right, moving on such a line that a square field entirely enclosed by hedgerows covered their approach.

The maneuver was made that way, Lt. Wood moving his men out to the flank and then back again along the lateral hedgerows. They moved cautiously so as to make full use of the protection of the embankments. Within one hour, they had captured the crossroads and the first house beyond it, overwhelming the German forces at both points. For the first time, Lt. Col. Ballard now had a little leverage. It had cost him something. SSgt. Chorzempa’s Company E had pressed forward to assist in the capture of the farmhouse and had lost Lt. George E. Schmidt, killed, and four others wounded. Lt. Vern Merz, commanding the machine gun platoon, took over the company. Company F moved up later after Company E’s gains had made it possible to direct a flanking fire ahead of Company F’s line. The Germans then came on down the hedgerows in counterattack. The brunt of this assault fell full on Lt. Wood’s men who repulsed it by a concentrated fire after the Germans had closed to within hand grenade range.

Right in the middle of these undertakings, Lt. Col. Ballard got Col. Johnson’s radio order telling him to move via Bse Addeville, pick up Major Allen’s force and then reinforce the position at Le Barquette. At that moment Lt. Wood’s group was closing in on the Germans from the flank and Companies E and F were going forward along the ditches. Lt. Col. Ballard felt that he could not comply. He reasoned that to order a withdrawal in the middle of an attack would only confuse his men and that in the confusion of disengagement the Germans would likely find him vulnerable to counterattacks. There was one other argument for procrastination. Lt. Frank Gregg had reported in with the information that Captain D. A. Brown of Company E was about two kilometers away with 75 men and had not yet become engaged.

Lt. Col. Ballard had sent Lt. Gregg back to bring these men in. They were now marching toward Les Droueries. One-half hour after getting the order, Lt. Col. Ballard made ready to withdraw. He had completed capture of the first group of houses. Several of his officers bucked at the order, but Lt. Col. Ballard had about concluded that if he had to fight it out on this ground, he would risk baring his flank to the German force at Les Droueries and would attack straight toward St. Come du Mont.

Lt. Denver R. Bennett was sent with 15 men of Company D to Angoville au Plain; from that point, they were to reconnoiter a route across the marshes to Bse Addeville. The rest of the force pulled out gradually, moving in the same general direction. The worst problem was getting the casualties out. It took almost an hour to clear the ground. Meanwhile, half of each of the two forward companies was left in place to act as a covering force. At some time after the noon hour the force arrived at Angoville au Plain.

WWII US Paratroopers, dressed like they fought in June 1944
(Pictures Coutesy of Rick Demas)

About 14.00 Hours Lt. Col. Ballard moved his battalion to the edge of the swamp south of Angoville au Plain. As he reached it, he saw Lt. Bennett ahead of him. He was pinned flat out in the marsh. Machine gun fire from the high ground around Les Droueries was whipping up the water around him. He wanted to see how much fire they would draw and whether the Germans seemed to have the flat under observation. The results convinced him that he couldn’t take the Second Battalion across the swamp without taking terrible losses. He hoped there might be a way around the swamp and he sent his S-3 to scout it toward the rear and left in search of a route. He reported that the ground was all but impassable and that a canal, also under good observation, was a special hazard in that direction.

While considering his next move, Lt. Col. Ballard got the radio message that Major Allen was about to withdraw from Bse Addeville toward Le Barquette. That forced his decision: he would try to move the battalion along the edge of the swamp. Hedges and paralleling ditches came right down to the limits of the solid ground, providing considerable cover. The line of advance would take the battalion straight toward the extreme left of the German position on the high ground. But Lt. Col. Ballard thought there was just a chance that he might make the approach unobserved and knock out their forward guns as he reopened the engagement. He estimated there were four machine guns in the German position and he had no idea how many riflemen they counted. In his own force there were six light machine guns and two 60mm mortars; the machine gun ammunition was running low and there were 20 rounds of mortar.

SSgt. Chorzempa's 2nd Battalion moved out at about 14.45 Hours and was just beginning to skirt the edge of the swamp when Capt. Brown came in with about 45 men from various organizations. The men moved along in skirmish line with the scouts leading them about one hedgerow distance in front. At first they moved easily down the ditches; a few bullets sung overhead but they did not seem to be drawing any aimed fire. It was this way for about 200 yards. Then a hail of small arms fire met them from all along a line which seemed to be almost parallel to the angle of approach. Company F, which vitas leading the column, then found itself fighting for the same crossroads which it had captured earlier in the day, though coming at it from a different tangent. Mortar fire was now ranging over the battalion and the German machine guns spoke more strongly. Company F bounded on to the last hedgerow short of the German position and lost four men covering the final stretch of ground. The battalion then became immobilized, checked on its right by the German fire line and held on its left by the expanse of the swamp.

The mortars were put into action near the edge of the swamp, but ran out of ammunition before they could do any apparent good. Company E, among them SSgt. Chorzempa, was put over on Company F’s right, both groups being strung out along the hedgerow. The position, a sunken road with ditches and tree cover on both sides, was fair enough and gave them substantial protection, even against the mortar fire. They stayed there, in close contact with the Germans.

A message came from Major Allen at 22.00 Hours saying that he had quit Bse Addeville: there no longer remained any possibility of juncture with his force, and Lt. Col. Ballard heard nothing more about the matter that evening. He was on his last belts of machine gun ammunition and he felt that his next step had to be a round-up of fighting and communications supplies from the DZ. This search was started at midnight and by 03.00 Hours the party had collected enough supply to see the battalion through another day of battle. The night was fairly quiet. The force slept in relays, half at a time. The 501st PIR had secured the lock at la Barquette, but strong German resistance had prevented the capture of St. Come du Mont as well as the destruction of the railroad and highway bridges north of Carentan.

Operations in Douve River area

At 04.30 Hours on D+1 (June 7), Lt. Col. Ballard ordered a stand-to by all hands. During the early morning hours the Germans used small patrols against his front and right flank. These groups came forward firing. But they did not press the action vigorously and they seemed to be punching mainly to determine the extent of the American position. Lt. Col. Ballard used a few small patrols for outposting work to keep these German patrols at a distance, but nothing significant came of the actions on either side. The German mortars resumed operation shortly after daylight, firing concentrations of six to eight shells. But tie fire was not accurate and no hurt was done.

At 06.30 Hours, Lt. Col. Ballard ordered the battalion to resume the attack. It withered almost at once. The only promising mode of advance was by stealthy movement along the vertical ditches and hedgerows. The Germans had sited their machine guns so as to fire straight down these ditches. Every time any number of Lt. Col. Ballard’s men tried to work down the ditches together, some of them were hit and the others became pinned, from fear of the fire and because the bodies of the casualties partly blocked their path, making greater exposure necessary. Yet gradually during the morning hours a handful of men faced the danger and overcame these hazards; by crawling forward on their bellies and taking every advantage of the ground, they worked up to a line where only one hedgerow separated them from the ditch containing the German machine guns. They hugged the embankment on one side of the hedgerow; from the other side of it, four emplaced machine guns continued to fire against Lt. Col. Ballard’s main line. The exchange of fire continued through the morning under these quite unsatisfactory conditions.

It was at just about the time of Lt. Col. Ballard’s starting for Angoville au Plain that the German battalion, which Col. Sink had seen in the distance and which later in the day was to menace Col. Johnson at Le Barquette, began to cross the swamp past Lt. Col. Ballard’s left flank. Most of the Germans were either out of sight or of range across the swamp, but about 20 of them had come right down the edge of it. With rifle fire, the CP group killed about 12; the others came into the lines with their hands up. As the fire broke out, the main body of the German battalion hauled off deeper into the swamp.

Angoville au Plain (Normandy, France) in June 1944 and 2007

Monument for the 501st PIR, 101st Airborne in Angoville au Plain, Normandy, France
(Picture Coutesy of Rick Demas)

At Angoville au Plain, Col. Sink told Lt. Col. Ballard that he was to continue the attack. Lt. Col. Ballard asked for tanks and was given six mediums. It was arranged that the 506th PIR would come approximately abreast of the battalion that night, moving in on its right rear.

The tanks came up and the tank commander went forward with Lt. Col. Ballard for a reconnaissance. Lt. Col. Ballard told him in detail where the four German machine guns were emplaced: his men in the thin forward line had sent back exact information. He told the tank commander also that he was sure there were no tank-stopping weapons along the German front. Lt. Col. Ballard asked him to put all four tanks in, and move directly to where they could put point-blank fire on the German emplacements. There were low places where the tanks could move through the lateral hedgerows; the infantry would move out abreast of the tanks, advancing for the sake of cover along the vertical hedgerows. This was the plan except that the two tanks on the right flank were to advance in column along the road in SSgt. Chorzempa’s Company E sector.

The tanks moved out slowly, not through caution, but because the infantry advance was tedious, the men having to foot their way gingerly over the uneven ground next the hedgerow embankments. Momentarily, the tankers halted to shell the machine gun positions. Half of the German force fled. The other half attempted to hold their ground. A few tried to surrender, but the fight had gone on too long for that. Too, the conditions of the combat were such, with active fighting elsewhere along the line and the Germans so distributed that the surrender of one group did not lessen the menace from another, that the Americans had to take extreme chances with their own lives to take individual prisoners. So most of those who had stayed were killed. Throughout the combat the action of the tanks dominated the offensive.

Company F had not recovered from the demoralizing effect of the friendly artillery shelling and just before the attack went off, Lt. Wood’s group of 506th Regiment men and another group of 15 men under Lt. Richard Snodgrass of Company D were substituted. This body, under the command of Major Bottomly, advanced against the German right flank.

Company E, among them SSgt. Chorzempa, hitting on the other side, took the road junction and then came under fire from the same house which it had captured the day before. Major Bottomly scratch force on the left had harder sledding. They moved up to the hedgerow and were driven back by heavy fire. The Germans had tunneled under this embankment and the foxholes and fire pits on the two sides were interconnected; they could fire accurately from the forward side as the Americans came up along the vertical hedgerow and the ditch, then duck back through the tunnels and fire from the cover of the embankment.

But the tanks attacked boldly, turrets open, spraying the hedgerows with machine-gun fire, and using 75mm guns against buildings and other suspected strong points. The infantry followed, taking the road junction to the southeast and capturing eight German machine guns on the left flank. Lt. Col. Ballard was ordered by Colonel Sink to hold there for the night and the battalion reorganized dug in. The two commanders then made plans for resumption of the attack on 8 June.

On June 8, 1944 the Second Battalion of the 501st PIR held positions between Bse Addeville and Les Droueries. Colonel Johnson with elements of the 501st PIR held his position at la Barquette.

on June 9, the 501st PIR regrouped at Vierville, then was to cross the Douve River near Brevands, passed through Catz, and stage for the encirclement of carentan at St. Hilaire Petitville.

Vierville, Normandy, France
(Picture Coutesy of Rick Demas)

Church of Vierville, Normandy, France
(Picture Coutesy of Rick Demas)

Attack on St. Come-Du-Mont
(Click on picture to enlarge)

The plan of the 101st Airborne Division provided for two crossings of the Douve. The left wing, starting at 1.00 Hours on June 10, was to cross in the vicinity of Brevands; part of this force was to join V Corps near the Vire River bridge southwest of Isigny, while the main force was to drive southwest to seize Carentan. The right wing was to cross the causeway northwest of Carentan, bypass Carentan, and seize Hill 30, southwest of the city. Capture of Hill 30 would put the Americans astride the principal German escape route from Carentan, as movement to the south and east was hindered by the Vire-Taute Canal and extensive swampland. As the battle for Carentan developed, the left and right wings of the division were coordinated to form a ring about the town, and within this ring a pincers closed in on the town itself.

The Attack on Carentan (Click on picture to enlarge)

At about 20.00 Hours on June 11, Colonel Harper was called back to the regimental command post. Here Lt. Gen. Courtney H. Hodges, General Taylor, General McAuliffe, and Colonel Johnson had gathered to plan the next day’s attack on Carentan. General McAuliffe was given the command of the task force which was to make a coordinated attack; it consisted of the 501st and 506th Parachute Infantry Regiments and the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment. The 501st PIR was to move from its defensive position north of the Douve, cross the river near Brevands, where a treadway bridge had been built, and swing southwest to join Colonel Sink’s men of the 506th PIR near Hill 30, thus completing the division’s ring around the city at La Fourchette.

(Pictures Courtesy of Rick Demas)

At dawn of June 12, the 501st PIR crossed the canal south of the 327th GIR, fought its way to Hill 30, and made contact with the 1st Battalion, 506th PIR, about half an hour after the entry into Carentan. The double maneuver succeeded in capturing Carentan, but the trap closed too late to catch the bulk of the German defenders, who evidently had escaped south during the night.

The Fall of Carentan (Click on picture to enlarge)

With the capture of Carentan, VII Corps had acquired the vital link for its communication with V Corps. It now remained to solidify the junction of the beachheads and secure the approaches to the city by seizing additional ground to the southwest and east. This was included as part of the mission of the 101st Airborne Division, as outlined the day before, and the division set about this task immediately. The 501st, among them SSgt. Edward Chorzempa, and elements of the 506th PIR were to push out southwestward to the Prairies Marecageuses de Gorges.

On the afternoon of June 12, the 506th and the 501st PIRs had started to carry out their mission of securing the southwestern approaches to Carentan. The 501st PIR on the left set out southwestward from Hill 30 along the Carentan-Periers highway. The ensuing fight lasted the rest of the day. During the night the 3rd Battalion came in on the 2nd's right. The 501st PIR met opposition by German parachutists and panzer troops on the Carentan-Periers highway and at the close of the day they held a line only a short distance southwest of Hill 30.

Adoptant of SSgt. Chorzempa's grave, Rick Demas, in Carentan (2007)
(Pictures Courtesy of Rick Demas)

Centre of Carentan, Normandy, France
(Pictures Courtesy of Rick Demas)

On June 13, the Germans launched a fierce counterattack in an attempt to retake the town of Carentan. The US 1st Army directed elements of the 2nd Armored Division to support the 101st Airborne defending Carentan. The American soldiers were able to stop the German thrust and hold the town. After the Germans pulled back, the 501st PIR was able to capture more ground along the Carentan-Periers highway.

German counterattack on Carentan (Click on picture to enlarge)

On June 14, Carentan was secured and the junction with V Corps was completed. On the 101st Division’s right flank, the 502nd PIR made contact with elements of the 82nd Airborne Division at Baupte and, with the 501st PIR on its left, it secured the road which runs southeast from Baupte to join the Carentan-Periers highway. Against this line German pressure dwindled. The 101st Airborne Division had thus completed its mission by extending the southern arc of the beachhead and welding together its isolated segments.

On 15 June, the 101st Airborne Division was transferred from the VII Corps to the VIII Corps, which gradually assumed responsibility for the protection of the VII Corps’ southwest flank. The rest of the time in Normandy, combat was spent in the area south of Carentan, near la Billonnerie, together with elements of the 506th PIR.

The 101st Airborne remained as a First Army reserve until mid-July, when it returned to England for rest, training to absorb replacements. The division had suffered considerable personnel and equipment losses during the Normandy battles. The 101st Airborne spent the summer replacing equipment, training new soldiers, and waiting for its next mission.

The successes were the result of the initiative, stamina, and daring of the individual parachutists, who each assessed his own situation on landing, and decided how best to accomplish some part of the overall mission- recalled from his detailed briefings. Fierce fighting in Normandy by no means ended with the beginning of D-day, but continued with important results in assisting the amphibious landings and joining the beach at Utah to that at Omaha. The gallant efforts of the 501st PIR were at high cost; the regiment lost 898 men killed, wounded, and missing or captured.

The 501st PIR was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for their role in the Normandy Invasion. SSgt. Edward M. Chorzempa earned the Purple Heart medal for wounds received in action on D-day in Normandy. He also earned a Bronze Star medal for Heroism in Action during the Normandy Campaign.

SSgt. Edward M. Chorzempa

Returning to their base in England via LSTs, in the middel of July, the 501st PIR slowly regained its pre D-day capabilities with many replacements and another round of intensive training. There was good news, many planned assaults into France, were aborted as the Allies overran planned objectives. They also received The French Croix de Guerre with Palm for operations in Normandy.

In September 1944, SSgt. Chorzempa and the other men were informed that they were going to make another jump, they didn’t know where. This one wasn’t cancelled, as some others before were. The operation, Operation Market-Garden, was an airborne attack deep in the German's rear areas (Market) in conjunction with a ground attack by the British Second Army (Garden).

The airborne attack was designed to lay a carpet of airborne troops along a narrow corridor extending approximately eighty miles into Holland from Eindhoven northward to Arnhem. The airborne troops were to secure bridges across a number of canals as well as across three major water barriers-the Maas, the Waal (the main downstream branch of the Rhine), and the Neder Rijn (Lower Rhine) Rivers. Through this corridor were to pass British ground troops in a push beyond Arnhem to the IJsselmeer (Zuider Zee). The principal objective of the operation was to get Allied troops across the Rhine. Three main advantages were expected to accrue: cutting the land exit of those Germans remaining in western Holland; outflanking the German’s frontier defenses, the West Wall or Siegfried Line; and positioning British ground forces for a subsequent drive into Germany along the North German plain.

H-Hour was set for 17th September 1944, and the 101st Airborne, along with the 82nd Airborne Division, the British 1st Airborne Division and 52nd Lowland Division (Airportable), and the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade were set to jump. Operation Market Garden commanded by Lt. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, commander of the First Allied Airborne Army, was to be carried out in daylight. Shortages in transportion planes, however, prevented the three divisions from dropping all their troopers at H-Hour, and the commanders had to decide which units would go in first. The 101st Airborne Division was to anchor the British Airborne Corps’ most southern flank and secure a 15-mile sector between Eindhoven and Veghel (Vechel). Taking this into consideration, General Taylor decided that the three parachute regiments would jump on the 17th of September.

The planes carrying the 101st Airborne were greeted by heavy anti-aircraft fire as they approached their DZ’s, but the pilots were able to hold formation, and the paratroopers, for the most part, were dropped in the right DZ’s. Elements of the 501st PIR landed on DZA-1 near Heeswijk, and others on the DZ between Veghel and Eerde, north of the 502nd PIR. SSgt. Chorzempa was dropped near Veghel, 25 miles behind the German front lines. The mission was to secure part of Hell’s Highway, gain control of the rail and road bridges over the Willems Canal and the Aa River, which would tie-in with the 82nd Airborne below Grave.

SSgt. Ed Chorzempa's Dropzone

The 501st PIR accomplished its mission, capturing Veghel and the surrounding bridges against only limited German resistance. The days following the 2nd battalion of the 501st PIR had to hold Veghel. Heavy fighting raged around Veghel and Eerde when German elite forces tried to recapture both towns.

Positions on September 18, 1944

In the upcoming days SSgt. Chorzempa had to face heavy German counterattacks as the Germans attempted to cut the road between Veghel and Uden and stop the flow of Allied forces and equipment north. General Taylor received information that the Germans were planning a large scale attack, coming from the east and west sides of the road in the vicinity of Veghel and Uden, to the northeast.

On Tuesday September 19, 1944, the Dutch underground gave the men from Company E cars, motorcycles, that they had hidden from the Germans. They received resupplies at about 17.00 Hours; also gliders landed Southwest of Veghel. One C-47 was shot down Northwest of Veghel; five of the crew parachuted to safety and made way to Company E's lines. The CP moved across the basin to the “twine and Bag” factory opposite the sawmill.

On Wednesday September 20, about 200-300 German prisoners were taken. A S-2 patrol and demolitions group moved to Erp and blew a bridge to prevent the German armor from crossing. Meanwhile British armor continued to pass through Veghel on way north. A C-47 resupply shuttle was overhead of SSgt. Chorzempa and his Company at 18.00 Hours, together with British Lancasters and Spitfires.

On Thursday September 21, British armor continued to pass through Veghel. Also did the Dutch Princess Irene Brigade (armor). Three C-47's were shot down by German FLAK. Members of the Dutch underground brought in four glidermen dressed in civilian clothing. Approximately 250 Germans surrendered to the men. A further 5 men from a C-47 crew were brought in, one injured, two reported as dead left in the field.

Early on Friday September 22, 1944, seven men of a C-47 crew made it to E Company's lines. At 11.00 Hours German armor and artillery were spotted in the vicinity of Erp, Southeast of Veghel. Elements of the 506th PIR were ordered to Uden to defend the village. They arrived moments ahead of the Germans, but the main assault came at Veghel, where SSgt. Chorzempa and his men still were. At Veghel shelling commenced. Lt. Wolf got wounded in his hand by shrapnel. Sgt. Mero captured 12 Germans near the grain elevator in Veghel and “had his binocular shot away”.

General Taylor dispatched the 327th GIR to reinforce SSgt. Chorzempa's 2nd Battalion, 501st PIR, at Veghel when he received the information about the upcoming attack. General McAuliffe was also in Veghel on September 22. He had been searching for a new division CP (command post) when the information came in, and General Taylor gave his artillery commander the responsibility for the defence of the town of Uden. German troops attacked Veghel at 12.15 Hours. The 501st PIR turned back the first attack on Veghel, which came from the village of Erp to the east. The Germans, however, swung to the northwest and cut the highway between Veghel and Uden, and then turned south to attack. E Company's forward CP was established at the Southeastern edge of Veghel. Heavy fighting developed and three German tanks and one armored car approached the outskirts of Veghel. As the German armored forces approached Veghel, McAuliffe ordered an anti-tank gun, with which they destroyed the leading tank, and the German column turned back. Another German tank was also knocked out by anti-tank fire. SSgt. Chorzempa and the other men were given support by rocket firing Typhoons, British tanks and artillery. Additional battalions of the 327th arrived as did other elements of the 506th PIR. The Germans continued attacking Veghel through the afternoon, including several heavy artillery bombardments, but the men of the 501st PIR held their position. The next important step was to reopen the highway; men and equipment were hardly needed further north on the closed road. E Company's CP was established in a new position at 20.00 Hours. E Company's casualties for that day were listed as medium. During the night it was quiet.

On Saturday September 23, heavy firing came all day from the Germans to the Southeast of Veghel, resulting in a number of casualties. T/5 Jack B. Rider took out a tank with a bazooka. The church and hospital were hit frequently by German artillery (KIA; Pvt. Joseph W. Garrity and Foster). Several German concentrations landed near the CP and the owner of the house was KIA by German shrapnel. A Battery of British 307s returned the fire on the Germans near the CP. During the day Lt. Edmund Brash got wounded and Lt. Volango, Lt. Frase, Sgt. Joiner and medics Boss and Furtak were KIA. Captain Noorwood from Company B, 326th Engineer Battalion got also wounded in action. Platoon Sergeant Edward M. Chorzempa also died that day at the 24th Evacuation Hospital due to penetration wound(s) in the left chest, received in combat. At the time of his death SSgt. Chorzempa carried a tobacco pouch, parachute silk, swimming trunks, 2 ETO ribbons and letters with him. SSgt. Chorzempa died at age 23, wasn't married, and left no will. E Company's casualties for the day were listed as medium to heavy.

On September 25, at 19.30 Hours, SSgt. Chorzempa was buried at Military Cemetery at Fosse Namur (Belgium), Plot K, Row 5, Grave 94. He was buried in his uniform. Later SSgt. Chorzempa was reburied at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium.

Word that Mr. and Mrs. Michael Chorzempa's only son was wounded in action in Holland was received about half October, 1944. Information that he had died that day came Wednesday October 25, but was not learned by his parents until their return on the night of October 27 from Winthrop, ME., were they, together with Edward's sister Eldgia, had attended the funeral of a relative. The telegram announcing Edward's death was addressed to her in care of Jacob Finkelstein & Sons. Opened by one of the owners of the plant, word was withheld from the mother until her return from the funeral. Returning with the family were Mr. and Mrs. Leon Piela of Winthrop, who had previously learned of Staff Sergeant Chorzempa's death but had kept the news from the mother. News of Edward's death, communicated to the mother by the Rev. Francis Miklaszewsky, pastor of the Polish National church, left Edward's mother in a prostrate condition and she went under the care of a physician since she learned of her son's death.

SSgt. Edward Chorzempa was engaged to Miss Anna Przbyla of Woonsocket, who entered the navy nurse corps Tuesday October 24, 1944, and was, at the time the news of Edward's death became known, stationed in Virginia.

SSgt. Chorzempa Dies In Holland - Woonsocket Call

This is a letter (July 16, 1945) from Mrs. Carolina Chorzempa to the War Department regarding her son's effects:


So far all that I have received as belongings of my son was a pipe, case, playing cards and a pair of shorts with a serial number that is not my Edward's number.

At the time of his death, my son was wearing my wedding band on his chain along with his dog tags.

His clothes and things mean a great deal to me and I would appreciate it a great deal if you made a special effort to send them.

Thanking you in advance for your kind cooperation, I wish to remain,

Very truly yours,

Mrs. Carolina Chorzempa”

The flag to SSgt. Edward Chorzempa's parents was sent on November 23, 1948. SSgt. Joe Kenney visited Edward's family when he was released from the hospital after the war. SSgt. Kenny was wounded in Normandy and did not participate in Market-Garden (Holland), but did participate in the Battle of the Bulge, where he was injured and as a result of that injury had a plate in his head.

SSgt. Edward M. Chorzempa's grave
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

Me next to SSgt. Edward M. Chorzempa’s grave
(Picture Courtesy of Rick Demas)

SSgt. Edward M. Chorzempa’s final resting place is, together with 7,989 brothers in arms, the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium, Plot G, Row 8, Grave 26.

If anyone has information that may be of assistance to me about SSgt. Edward M. Chorzempa, please contact me at

Mr. Thomas Dimitry
Mr. Joseph Garrity
Mrs. Paulette Boyko
Mrs. Cyndee Marcoux