Frank A. Genova
U. S. Army
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 10/23/1940 - 09/23/1945
Squad Leader, 8th Infantry Div, 3rd Bn, 28th Inf Rg
Audio Samples

Frank was born in Brooklyn, New York, on the shore of Sheepshead Bay. His father, who made concrete blocks, was a native of Trapai, Sicily, who came to America in 1900. He returned to Sicily, married, and brought his wife back five years later. The family was bi-lingual. "Papa had a rule. In the house you spoke Italian. When you were outside you spoke English," says Frank, who is still fluent in Italian. He remembers the Depression as not "tough, because if we had beans to eat we ate beans," he says. "I mean you weren't sorry for yourself because you got plenty to eat." Frank worked in a grocery store making six dollars a week as a teenager. He gave two to his father for the family. He attended Bishop Lockland High School until he enlisted at age eighteen in the U.S. Army in October of 1940. While taking basic training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina, Frank met Miriam Joseph, an American-born child of immigrant parents from Damascus, Syria and Beirut, Lebanon. Frank shipped out in December of 1943 to Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, as part of headquarters of Third Battalion, Twenty-eighth Infantry Regiment, Eighth Infantry Division. Frank's unit entered France on July 4, 1944. "We were two miles in," he says. "That was it. The Germans were still in control. They didn't even have time to pick up the bodies so when you sat down to eat you sat down with dead bodies lying around you. So I didn't eat for three weeks, not solid food. I didn't want it. My body rebelled against it. I drank water. Then after three weeks my body and my mind adjusted to the fact where you either did that or you died. So you adjusted." Working in demolitions, Frank blew up obstacles and cleared mines, as his division advanced into Germany with General George S. Patton, Jr. "He was a wonderful person," Frank says. "If we would have had two more men like him the war would have been over a lot sooner." His unit delivered ammunition to the front. The Eighth Division was in the Hurtgen Forest during the Battle of the Bulge. It later advanced into Bremen, Germany, and met the Russians on the Elbe River. Frank returned to America on the Mauretania, reaching home on September 25, 1945. He was discharged as a sergeant from Fort Dix, New Jersey. Eventually moving to Columbia, South Carolina, Frank sold surgical supplies. He retired as a warehouse manager in Shreveport in 1996. Throughout his post-war life Frank gave military reunions a wide berth. "I never went to any reunions. I was done with it. It was a part of my life that was over," he says of his service.