Guarnere, Henry Joseph.

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Guarnere, Henry Joseph, born 25-01-1919, in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, to the Italian parents Joseph and Augusta, born DiSabato, Guarnere, with ten other siblings. One brother was the famous Band of Brothers para of the 506th Easy Company Wild Bill Guarnere.


Henry enjoyed baseball as a kid.  He was a nut about the sport and collected newspaper articles and cards on all the teams. He was a quiet kid but kept a watchful eye over his brother, Bill. When the war began, he tried to enlist in the Marines but was turned down. Then he was drafted into the Army. His brother William “Bill” also tried to enlist into the Marines, but he too was turned down. Bill eventually volunteered for the paratroopers and went to Camp Toccoa, Geogia.   Henry became a medic in the 47th Armored Medical Battalion. Henry was a natural medical corpsman, as he was always practiced fixing and healing at home.  The 47th Armored Medical Battalion was a support unit of the 1st Armored Division. nicknamed “Old Ironsides,”under command of Major General Orlando Ward  Here is a brief description of this division. The 1st Armored Division entered combat in the North African Campaign. The armored infantry battalions were part of the Allied landings at Oran on 08-11-1942, where they suffered heavy casualties against the French Morrocans.  Gradually the Americans gained confidence and marched across Morroco to fight the Germans in Tunisia.  Tech 5 Henry Guarnere earned a Silver Star Medal for risking his life to render medical aid to a wound soldier.

Death and burial ground of Guarnere, Henry Joseph.

Based on the date of Henry’s death, the research of the battles that the 1st Armored Division participated in during January of 1944.  The Battle of Monte Porchia was the only battle that was of any significance at this time that coincides with this date.  So, it is assumed that Henry Guarnere was killed, on 04-01-1944, while performing the duties of a medical orderly at this battle.  The 1st Armored Division had transferred from North Africa after a rest during the battle for Sicily and Salerno.  It arrived in Italy in mid-November 1943.  Its first major combat in Itlay would be Monte Porchia . Monte Porchia was relatively small compared to the mountains typical of central Italy. Its importance was derived from its isolated position commanding the low ground lying between the Monte Maggiore-Camino hill mass to the south and Monte Trocchio to the northwest. Highway No. 6 cut across the lower northern slopes, extending to the north across the River Rapido at Cassino.

Silver Star Commendation forTech 5 Henry Guarnere  HENRY GUARNERE, (ASN 33026746), Technician Fifth Grade, Medical Detachment, * * * * * * * Battalion.  For gallantry in action on * * * 1943 in the vicinity of * * * * *, Tunisia.  During heavy counter battery fire a solider in a gun section was seriously wounded and unable to reach shelter.  Technician Fifth Grade Guarnere voluntarily and without hesitation ran to the wounded soldier and began administering first aid to him.  Although the position was still receiving heavy fire he completely disregarded his own welfare by remaining with the wounded soldier until he completed his first aid treatment. His daring and heroic actions undoubtly save the soldier’s life. The gallantry, perseverance, and concern for the welfare of a wounded comrade displayed by Technician Fifth Grade Guarnere reflect great credit upon himself and the command and are highly commendable. Entered Military Service from hiladelphia, Pennsylavania.  (Medal No. 24737)  General Order No. 44, 1st Armored Div., Dated 07 May 1944

This lost gave his brother Bill Guarnere a desire for revenge. He made a parachute drop on D-day, was separated from his company, and later successfully regrouped with the rest of the company. They encountered a German patrol, and ambushed it. 1st Lieutenant Richard Winters ordered a cease fire, but Guarnere continued to fire his Thompson SMG, killing the remaining Germans. He was chewed out by Winters: “When I say wait for my command, you wait for my command!” Winters said. As Winters walked away, Guarnere muttered, “Fine Quaker.” As they prepared to leave, one man, John Hall   from Able Company asked Donald Malarkey what Guarnere’s problem was. Guarnere overheard, and snarled, “None of ya fucking business cowboy!” Guarnere participated in the Brecourt Manor Assault, and fought at Carentan.

After heading back to Aldbourne, Guarnere decided to chat with some Easy Company replacements in his platoon. As he sat down, a replacement called Private Lester Anthony “Les”  Hashey   told him that seat was saved for Private Edward Heffron.

“Really? I don’t care if it’s fucking Eisenhower‘s,”

Henry Guarnere was awarded the following medals: Silver Star and Purple Heart. His citation for the Silver Star is shown above. The Purple Heart may have been earned while in combat in North Africa or may have been awarded posthumously for his fatal wound January 1944.  Also, note that his rank varies and is listed as Private, Private First Class and Tech 5 in the different references. The final rank that was used on his headstone was Private.

PFC Henry Guarnere was buried at the American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy, Section A, Row 1, Grave 30, with the other casualties of the Cassino/Anzio campaign.

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