Anthony E. Jannace

My father, Anthony E. Jannace, enlisted in the U.S. Army after Pearl Harbor and served in the Second Engineer Combat Battalion of the Second Infantry Division, in the European Theater of Operations during WWII. He participated in five campaigns: The Battle of Normandy, Northern France (Brest), Ardennes-Alsace, the Rhineland, and Central Europe. The battalion he served in received a Presidential Unit Citation for its heroism during the Battle of the Bulge-during one week in which 25% of the battalion suffered casualties while being caught behind the German pincer movements in the Ardennes. He was wounded twice: frost bite and mortar shrapnel and he received The Purple Heart in April 1945. He participated as well in the Liberation of Pilsen in May 1945.

The Second Infantry Division participated in five campaigns in the ETO, including the Elsenborn Ridge Defense from December 20, 1944, until January 29, 1945, during the Battle of the Bulge-as it has been said-The Germans were defeated at Elsenborn and the Battle was won in Bastogne. It served approximately 337 days in combat, with 320 in contact with the enemy. It traveled approximately 1,750 miles from
Omaha Beach to Pilsen, capturing approximately 70,300 prisoners of war. The division sustained over 15,000 casualties, including nearly 3,000 killed in action. The 2ID is also a recognized Liberating Unit, having been involved in the liberation of Leipzig Schönefeld (Buchenwald subcamp) and Spergau (labor education camp) in April 1945.

Like so many veterans, he spoke little about his experiences during the war. He died in October 1983 after having served nearly 30 years in defense of our country. Although wounded twice, he considered his fallen comrades that never returned home the real heroes of the war.

Although I did not serve in the military, I have had the opportunity to honor his sacrifice by serving on the Faculty of the Eisenhower School/National Defense University. Thank you to the Greatest Generation and to all those that have taken its mantle in our esteemed military in defense of our country and for freedom abroad-without whose sacrifice we would not enjoy the freedoms we have today.

God bless America.


William Jannace