Received: POW MEDAL, PURPLE HEART MEDAL, KOREAN SERVICE MEDAL
W/ FOUR BRONZE STARS UNITED NATIONS MEDAL GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL
OCCUPATION MEDAL JAPAN NATIONAL DEFENSE MEDAL
Job: FORWARD OBSERVER 99th F.A.
after War: HVAC MECH
My story told by Thomas Francione, began in West Phila in
Philadelphia, PA. On July 1, 1948, five other guys and myself joined
the Army. We were truly the United Nations, George Koskinis, KIA July
12, 1950 was Greek, Bernard Nemitz wounded twice was Jewish, Harry
Shappell wounded was Franch-Irish, Pal McCullough was Irish, and Guy
Cellucci was Italian. We were sent to Fort Dix, New Jersey and had
eight weeks of basic training. After Basic I was sent to leadership
school for another eight weeks of training. After a ten-day leave, I
was sent to Fort Lawton in the state of Washington. I was then
shipped out to Japan on a troop ship, arriving at camp Zama, Japan
some time in October, 1948.
After arriving in Japan I was assigned to the 15 Quartermaster at Camp
Drake, Japan. I stayed in the Quartermaster until the start of the
Korean War and then was transferred to the 99th Field Artillery as a
forward observer. I then went to Korea and we made the first
amphibious landing of the war at Phang-dong on July 16, 1950. I was
assigned as a radio operator in support of the 8th Cav. Reg. 1st Cav.
After 3-1/2 months of combat we were at the small town of Unsan, North
Korea on November 1, 1950 when the Chinese attacked the 8th Cav. Regt.
After four days of being surrounded we broke out of the perimeter and
crossed the river and made our way into the mountains and thought we
had made our escape. But on November 5, 1950 my whole life changed as
I was taken prisoner. I spent the next 33-1/2 months as a POW. On
August 12, 1953 I was finally a free man again.
After returning to San Francisco on a two-week voyage, I was flown home
to Upper Darby, PA as my parents had moved while I was a POW. After
spending 30 days at home I was discharged at Fort Meade, Maryland on
October 7, 1953.
I married my wife, Eileen Lane on February 19, 1955. We have four
children, Dana, Denise, Thomas and Lori and 13 grandchildren.
Message to Future Generations:
If your Country Calls, Serve. Keep Faith in God, Cherish Life and
Freedom and never forget your family.