The Life of a World War Two Replacement:
"If You Knew the Price of Freedom..."

Private First Class Edward J. Gabriele
90th Division
358th Infantry Regiment
3rd Battalion
K Company

Eddie was born June 27 1924 in Woodlynne New Jersey to Rocco and Jenny (nee Palmero) Gabriele. Eddie was the youngest of ten children. He was 18 years old when he entered military service on 1 March 1943, and was initially a member of the the 106 th Infantry Division. They were nicknamed the "Golden Lions," and wore a shoulder patch of a golden lion’s face on a blue circular background encircled by a white and red border.

This Division was activated in Fort Jackson South Carolina on 15 March 1943. After completing Tennessee Maneuvers in late March 1944, the Division was transferred to Camp Atterbury in Indiana. While there, the Division had over 7,000 enlisted men and 600 officers sent to replacement depots. Many of the 106th men were sent to the Fort Meade, Maryland Replacement Depot.

From here, Eddie was sent overseas, to join the 90 th Division 358th Infantry Regiment 3rd Battalion K Company. He was probably a rifle squad rifleman. Unfortunately, most war casualties occur in the rifle platoons, because they are the troops who must advance under enemy fire. It is upon them that the burden of war falls, with the greatest risk and with the least likelihood of survival than in any of the other combat arms. They were the soldiers always on the front line. (The 90th was a standard triangular infantry division. Each of its three regiments was made up of three battalions, and each battalion had three rifle companies and one heavy weapons company. Each rifle company had three rifle platoons and one weapons platoon, and each rifle platoon was composed of three squads. Each rifle squad had approximately 12 men: a squad leader (buck sergeant), an assistant squad leader (corporal), a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) team of two men, and eight riflemen.)

Eddie joined the 90th Division 358th Infantry Company K on 10 July 1944 as one of 12 replacements from the 48 th Replacement Depot. He had just turned 20 years old on June 27 th. Company K was known by the nickname "Kraut Killers". The 90 th Division patch (shown above) is a red T and O. Originally, the red T-O stood for Texas-Oklahoma, since the division was made up almost entirely of men from those two states. Later however, men were drawn from every state in the nation, and the T-O came to represent, by common consent, "Tough ‘Ombres".

His first day with the 90th Division was during the Battle for Hill 122 (the Foret de Mont Castre). Although not widely publicized, this was the most difficult, demanding and costly fight of the European campaign. It was here that they conquered, at great cost, the Mahlman Line, which was the German’s main line of resistance for the French peninsula. Foret de Mont Castre was a small mountain 122 meters above sea level. It was about 3 kilometers long and 2 kilometers wide, and there was a second small mountain about the same size just south of it. From the top of Hill 122, the Germans could observe the Atlantic Ocean on both the east and west sides of the Cherbourg peninsula and many miles to the north. The slopes were very steep, and it was almost impossible to walk up them without grabbing onto something. There was heavy brush on all sides of the hill. At the top of the hill is Camp de Caesar, ruins of a Roman fortress built by Caesar over 2000 years ago.

What follows is a day by day account of Eddie’s short but tragic military service:

July 10th, 1944

July 11th, 1944

July 12th, 1944

July 12th to 30th , 1944

August 1st to 2nd , 1944

August 3rd to 7th, 1944

August 8th, 1944

August 30th 1944 - Woodlynne New Jersey

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