Michael Guastella
U. S. Army
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 08/01/1944 - 06/24/1946
Military Police, 76th Inf Div

Michael was born in Manhattan as one of three children to Nunzio Guastella and Biagina Spadaro Guastella. His father worked in construction and later owned a doll factory with forty employees. During World War II his mother worked in the garment industry. Michael calls Manhattan "a wonderful place to grow up. You did everything that your heart desired." He played in the streets, served as a Coney Island lifeguard, listened to the radio, went to movies, and would "work out a lot." He even modeled for Strength and Health Magazine. The family lived in an apartment near Floyd Bennett Field, where Michael often saw aircraft, including the Graf Zeppelin. Michael graduated from Seward Park High School, attended New York University, and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944. To him, basic training at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, Arkansas was "a piece of cake. I was a strong kid." He went overseas on the SS Queen Mary, eventually arriving in Metz, France in the fall of 1944. "I went from New York to the front lines in seven days," he says. Michael was assigned as a rifleman to the 76th Infantry Division in 3rd Army, but he does not recall his regiment or battalion. The fighting took him through Luxembourg, Cologne, Trier, Frankfurt and Nuremberg. He also helped liberate Buchenwald and recalls meeting one of the Jewish inmates. "The only reason they (the Germans) didn't kill him, he was the only one that could fix the ovens where they burned the Jews," he says. Michael was in London awaiting re-deployment to the Pacific when Japan surrendered. He returned home on the same ship on which he sailed to Europe. After his discharged in June of 1946 at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, he returned to Manhattan where he entered construction work and became a member of the bricklayers union, working his way up to journeyman. Meanwhile, his first wife, Maxine, died at age 23. He went to upstate New York to Poughkeepsie "and worked up there for awhile." He came to Shreveport in 1955. On May 4, 1983, he married Julia Piazza. From a previous marriage he has four children. He owns a construction company, Michael Guastella Masonry. "The reason I'm alive today, I lived pretty good," he says. "I've got a clean life. I don't smoke. I eat good food. I eat all Italian foods, you know, mostly. That's why I'm alive today. And still working."