The Early Years
John at 2 and a half years old.
Son of Joseph and Mary Simonetti, immigrants from a small village in Italy. The family crossed the ocean to achieve the American Dream.
John was a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps. He was mainly engaged in restoring national parks and tree conservation, road construction, and foresting activities.
John at Base Camp.
Cousins John and Ben both enjoyed sports thoroughly. One of their favorites was hockey. Here is John before a football game.
Ben Simonetti in a Rangers Jersey.
John and Ben at the beach.
The boys relaxing.
John lived life to the fullest. He enjoyed family time, hanging out with his best friend Cousin Ben, and especially bringing their girlfriends out for a night on the town.
Enlistment and Training
John and Ben Simonetti joined the army at almost the same time. John went first and fought in Europe. Ben followed and fought in the Pacific theater.
Typical company at Fort Sam Houston.
John at bayonet training.
Cold weather training for the Second Infantry Division.
John stood at 5'8", 158lbs. His army buddies referred to John as an easy-going, happy individual with a strong sense of duty.
Deployment and War
The Ninth Infantry Division boarded the ship USAT, Susan B. Anthony in October 7, 1943.
Ten days later, the troops arrived on the shores of Northern Ireland. All soldiers were given a "Pocket Guide to Northern Ireland". this was due to the fact that American soldiers weren't familiar with most of the beliefs and customs under British rule.
John's sister Lee Simonetti on her wedding day.
John and Ben would constantly write letters to home and were always present in their family's thoughts. This letter was sent from John Christmas of 1943.
Colonel Chester hirschfelder, Commander of the Ninth Regiment, called to all his troops to hear his final speech. He told them that a lot of them would not return, and he "was proud to be with them all". He ended his speech with "Boys, this is it!"
The USAT, George W. Goethals. The convoy set sail along the southern coast of england at 9:20pm June 5, 1944. Their next stop would be Omaha Beach in France to face the Germans.
D-Day June 6, 1944. All gave some, but some gave all.
D-Day + 1. Infantry division moving out at Omaha Beach. Sgt. Henry Doar was pictured here. According to sources, John and Henry knew each other.
Both John and Ben Simonetti died honorably in battle, John in Normandy and Ben in the Phillipines. The men died 6 months apart. John on June 16, 1944 and Ben on December 21, 1944.
Sgt. John R. Simonetti was killed in action on Friday, June 16th 1944, at approximately 5pm in the town of St. Germain-d'Elle, Normandy.