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In Memoriam:
James Gastineau

Jim, a former member of C Battery, passed away on Tuesday, July 21, 1998. Follow the above link for a special memorial page.
In Memoriam:
Dan Costello

Dan, a former member of A Battery, passed away on Monday, November 30, 1998. Follow the above link for a special memorial page.
In Memoriam:
John Maher

John, a former member of A Battery, passed away on Saturday, February 10, 2001. Follow the above link for a special memorial page.

In Memoriam:
Ed Zabielski

Ed, a former member of C Battery, passed away on Saturday, June 23, 2001. Follow the above link for a special memorial page.
In Memoriam:
Joseph Rondeau, Jr.

Joe, a former member of HQ Battery, passed away on Thursday, August 9, 2001. Follow the above link for a special memorial page.

In Memoriam:
John T. "Jack" Hartnett

Jack, a former member of A Battery, passed away on Sunday, July 7, 2002. Follow the above link for a special memorial page.

Visit Our Other Memorial Pages:  Final Farewells 2002  |  Taps 2003  |  Taps 2004


To the Americans Who Fought On All Fronts, 1941–1945

This story shall the good man teach his son;
... From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother ...

from William Shakespeare's Henry V


   The above photograph is a scan of a postcard that I bought when I first visited St. Avold in 1963. I was six years old and was traveling along the border between France and Germany with my parents. (I think I must have had to borrow a few francs from my mother to purchase it!) I'm sure I did not realize at the time what St. Avold meant, nor what had occurred in the peaceful forests all around me 19 years earlier. I'm doubly sure that I did not realize how the vast silences that collected and seemed to stand between those rows of white stones were the diametric counterpoint to the enormous sounds of battle that once echoed across this beautiful, serene landscape. But, 33 years later, I know I must thank the men lying here that I will never truly know these things. It is painful to realize that many were almost 20 years younger than I am now when they died.

Click the banner to search for a WW II casualty
[ via The American Battle Monuments Commission ]

In Memoriam, to All Soldiers, All Wars

In Flanders Fields


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, saw dawn, felt sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up your quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


For the Men and A Man of the 225th
(Site Mission Statement)

   The 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion was like hundreds of other units deployed in the ETO during World War II, part of the massive collective of men and materiél that had been hurled ashore at Normandy in June 1944. Like most of these units, the story of its involvement in the final chapters of the war in Europe is not chronicled to any great degree by the country for which it fought. The National Archives leave us with a slim copy of the unit history and barely a cubic foot (archivists measure records by the space it takes up) of operational orders and miscellaneous paperwork. In Shelby Stanton's monumental World War II Order of Battle, the 225th gets no more coverage that any similar unit and no less. Their records have neither been elevated owing to extraordinarily valorous events nor erased owing to more embarrasingly tragic or vainglorious ones. They were simply 900 soldiers doing the job for which they were trained. Others had been trained to operate bulldozers, unload supplies, drive trucks, repair tank engines, type requisitions, cook mashed potatoes, take photographs, dig latrines, pump gas, and the like. The young men of the 225th were trained to point searchlights at the sky so other American young men could shoot down planes flown by German young men. But this is not the whole story.


   The 225th won four battle stars in the ETO, for the campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland, and Central Germany. This much can be gleaned from looking them up in Stanton's book, a simple shred of fact shared by those hundreds of other units that fought in the ETO. But what was being a member of the 225th really like? From the day you received an induction notice through V-E day and the million memories in between? That information is not buried in the vast holdings of the National Archives. That "data" is not recorded in any history one could happen across in a dusty stack at Carlisle Barracks. The only place we can find that today is in the memories of the men that were there. Many of those memories are as clear as the day they entered memory. Some of them are gone. Others are fragile and fleeting. Out of focus. In need of strengthening. Some men don't recall very much at all. And a lot of these men are plain gone, and, with them, their recollections. Perhaps we will never have the "whole" story.

   In the Ridley Scott film Blade Runner, which probably many WW II veterans have never seen, a soldier of the future, an android built for interstellar combat with a preset lifespan, laments his own impending death. He says: "I have seen things you people would not believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. But, all these memories will soon be lost, like tears in rain." I hear this fictional soliloquy in my mind as I piece together the story of this single unremarkable unit of searchlight men. We would not believe the things that these men have seen. And, yes, their memories will soon be lost, like tears in rain. So, we make humble attempts to tell as much of the story as possible.

   This Web page has one purpose: to provide a location for these fragile memories, a tiny shelf in a small corner of a little out-of-the-way museum that seeks to commemorate seemingly insignificant personal events that occurred 50 or more years ago within the larger cataclysm of World War II. It is an attempt to first illuminate, then fan, a solitary ember cooling at the core of a long-extinguished, but vast conflagration. Five years ago, this mission would have been impossible. The little out-of-the-way museum certainly would never have existed physically. But now it does, in so-called "cyberspace," constructed from the connectivity protocols that enable the document-sharing that we know as the World Wide Web and from the very human desire to create the documents that we can now share. We can all find that little museum now. All the roads have been constructed to reach it. Now all we have to do is finish building it. And that's what we're doing here. Each little piece of information is meticulously added to our vision of this museum in the mind, like delicate crystalline things that catch the light and our imagination and that reflect the light back to tell us something about these men and, magically, about ourselves.

   This web site is, yes, dedicated to the memory of the 225th, for it no longer exists as a unit in the modern U. S. Army. And, yes, it is dedicated to the members of the battalion who have passed on. And, yes, it is further dedicated to the survivors, those now-old men, many on the brink of death, who remember, and through their precious memories, provide the real human history of World War II. But it is also dedicated to the occasional visitor who may have lost a father or mother or brother or sister who lived inside the terrible crucible of that war, and who is attempting to discover something, anything about that parent or person, to plumb the lives of those mysterious people who sat across the kitchen table from them all those years and said very little or nothing about that time of their lives.

   Finally, this site is a salutation to my father's generation, the generation that went to war all those years ago and to which we owe a debt of gratitude regardless of whether we think any war is correct, and to my father, to whom it is a small attempt to pay part of the impossible debt of a son.

Larry M. Belmont, Blue Point, NY


<bgsound src="savryahymm.mid" loop=infinite controls="smallconsole">
You are listening to Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan
[ right-click in the gray box to adjust the sound ]

To the Members Who Have Passed On

   Recorded here are the names of those members of the 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion who have passed on as of December 2002. Our information is correct to the best of our ability, but often mistakes are made. Please advise us of any errors by writing to the Webmaster. Relatives may also contact the Webmaster to request a memorial page for any member. Other visitors can similarly request a tribute or memorial page for any WW II veteran. Click on any linked name below to view a memorial page (or other page devoted to that person).

Step softly as you walk among these markers
standing at attention in their gently curving rows.

Those that sleep beneath our feet
slumber in profound repose.

Yet as you wander down these quiet paths
they swarm around you, crouching low.

Their patrols advance beyond the line
searching out the foe.

First a nudge, then a sign —
Move out! All is safe for you to go.

For there are only angels here in olive-drab,
brothers we all know.

The photo above is of the wooden marker for the first American grave on Sicily, 1943;
below, the American Cemetery above Omaha Beach, Normandy, today.

updated May 2003
Clarence Abel, A Battery
Vernon Allen, C Battery
Donald Allison, HQ Battery
Richard Amspoker, A Battery
Leroy Apgar, A Battery
Charles Appleton, A Battery
George Baker, A Battery
Joe Baranowski, A Battery
Bill Bechand, A Battery
Joseph Beck, HQ Battery
Jack C. Berry, A Battery
Montroe Blagg, B Battery
Donald Blakely, A Battery
Kenneth Blaise, B Battery
Milton Bloch, HQ Battery
Paul Bohna, B Battery
Donald Bowen, A Battery
Bob Broerman, A Battery
Bill Brugman, A Battery
Florian Budysz, B Battery
Louis Burns, B Battery
Jack Burris, C Battery
Lester Burrow, A Battery
John Butler, B Battery
Phil Butterfield, B Battery
Noe Byrd, HQ Battery
Francis J. Caputo, A Battery
Tony Caradonna, B Battery
Garland Carter, A Battery
Sherman Cashdollar, HQ Battery
Nick Castoria, A Battery
Lawrence Chaquette, B Battery
James Clapp, B Battery
Richard Clinton, A Battery
Frank Cole, A Battery
Jim Convey, A Battery
Joe Conway, A Battery
Cecil Cook, HQ Battery
Dan Costello, A Battery
Donald Coston, A Battery
Joe Crenshaw, C Battery
John Damonte, HQ Battery
Leo DeMatteis, A Battery
Leo DeMatteo, B Battery
Vincent Donley, B Battery
George Downs, A Battery
Charles DuBois, C Battery
Richard Enright, B Battery
Daniel Evans, B Battery
Michael Fasano, B Battery
Michael Fascione, C Battery
Clyde Faulkner, A Battery
Walter Flamme, A Battery
A. Franceschina, B Battery
Lawrence Fox, B Battery
Joseph Gagnon, HQ Battery
James Gastineau, C Battery
Andy Geci, HQ Battery
Raymond Gerard, HQ Battery
Louis Goldman, HQ Battery
Henry Gowett, B Battery
Bill Gradowski, B Battery
Arnold Green, B Battery
Gus Griffin, B Battery
Charles Haick, A Battery
Rich Hammerman, HQ Battery
Herbert Harman, A Battery
John Harrison, A Battery
John T ("Jack") Hartnett, A Battery
Francis Haven, B Battery
George Hays, A Battery
Arlie Heier, C Battery
Julio Hernandez, A Battery
John Hincher, A Battery
George Hlavaty, A Battery
Larry Hoffman, HQ Battery
Lundy Howard, A Battery
Bertram Hughes, B Battery
Glenn Imhoff, A Battery
Thomas Jackson, B Battery
Willis Jeanotte, A Battery
Aaron Jernigan, B Battery
George Kenny, A Battery
Forest Kerber, B Battery
C. L. Ketterman, B Battery
Arnold Kinder, C Battery
Edward Knopf, B Battery
Ed Krylocwicz, A Battery
Robert Kugler, HQ Battery
Wilbur Kvale, B Battery
Gilbert Lackman, B Battery
Joseph Legasse, HQ Battery
Ed Lewandowski, B Battery
Ernest Lucia, HQ Battery
Paul Mabin, B Battery
John "Whitey" Maher, A Battery
Edwin Mansfield, B Battery
George Marks, B Battery
Eugene Massey, A Battery
Bill McCormick, HQ Battery
Jacob McGrew, A Battery
Carl McKenzie, B Battery
Charles Meeker, A Battery
Gerald Mezzi, C Battery
Leslie Monroe, B Battery
Carl Morehouse, A Battery
Emmet Morris, B Battery
Charles Murray, HQ Battery
Eugene Murray, B Battery, Section 7
Wallace Murray, B Battery, Section 7
Tony Palermo, A Battery
Jose M. Perez, B Battery
Clarence Perkins, HQ Battery
Freeman Phipps, B Battery
Joseph Pillig, A Battery
John Powell, C Battery
Robert Pringle, B Battery
Seymour Reiss, C Battery
Heinz Reuppert, A Battery
Joseph Rondeau, Jr., HQ Battery
James Rossetti, B Battery
Joseph Rossi, A Battery
Harley Rowe, C Battery
Lawrence Sappenfield, A Battery
Joseph Satterly, C Battery
LaVern Schilling, A Battery
James Schulte, B Battery
Mort Seidler, C Battery
Richard Sellers, B Battery
Charles Seyler, A Battery
Leroy Shanklin, B Battery
Earl Shepard, A Battery
Howard Shipman, A Battery
Frank Shoaf, B Battery
Fred Shook, C Battery
Ed Smith, C Battery
Sal Sorrentino, A Battery
Charles Sparks, A Battery
John A. Spaulding, A Battery
Marvin Stahl, C Battery
Donald Steinke, HQ Battery
H. Stevens, HQ Battery
Jacob Stockman, A Battery
Edward Swallie, B Battery
Earlie Swift, B Battery
Ralph Tasse, B Battery
Ralph Tatum, A Battery
Lewis Taylor, C Battery
Thomas Thren, A Battery
Joe Tierney, HQ Battery
Alfred Toma, HQ Battery
Joseph Tretola, C Battery
Carol Vanzant, HQ Battery
Robert Varner, A Battery
Ralph Venneman, B Battery
Clement Villa, B Battery
Al Wanstrath, C Battery
Ed Weinberger, A Battery
Robert Welthy, B Battery
James Williams, A Battery
Bob Winters, A Battery
Lester Wolfe, B Battery
Eugene Wright, A Battery
Charles Yanuto, HQ Battery
Ed Zabielski, C Battery
Peter Zbryski, C Battery
Edward M. Ziegler, Lt., B Battery
Fred Zorn, A Battery


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