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Joseph Pizza

Private

A Company

702nd Tank Battalion, 80th Infantry Division

 

 

Former Private Joe Pizza was kind enough to offer me the loan of his photo album. Over the years, I have seen lots of photo albums. None were anything like Joe's! Almost all units would have a group photo taken, and people often see those around today, which are often about 3 feet wide and show all the men from a given unit posing for a photo. The 702nd Tank Battalion had such photos taken of each of its companies in 1943, while they were at Camp Campbell, Kentucky. Unlike the other companies, A Company also got individual portrait photos taken of each of its men. Somehow, Joe Pizza got copies of those individual portraits, and compiled them into his photo album. Under each photo, was a label with that man's name handwritten by that man. Some of these men did not make it to the war in Europe with the 702nd, and some were killed in the war. Like all combat units, the 702nd got replacement soldiers as the war progressed and men were killed or wounded. So, this photo album is not a full and complete set of photos of every man who ever served in A Company during the war, but rather consider it a snapshot in time, of who was present in 1943. I wish that I had photo albums like this for every company in the 80th Division and its attached units, but I may as well wish for winning the lottery.

 

I have read most of these names many times over the years, but never met most of them in person. Some, I met in person, but as an elderly man, and in many of those cases, you'd never guess that the 18-year-old version and the 80-year-old version were one and the same man! In the beginning, Joe Pizza tried to organize the photos by which platoon, etc., each man was from, but that was one of those details in the 702nd that was forever changing. Men changed platoons, jobs, rank, you name it. I won't try to organize by that method either, just because of that reason. So, in no particular order, except roughly by rank and how I see fit, I present you with the A Company Photo Album, By Joe Pizza. We all owe Joe a great debt of appreciation for his generosity in sharing this album. Should anyone else have any 80th Division related photos, please, by all means share them with us!

 

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