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S/Sgt Mitchell J. "Mike" Szymanski

Company A

702nd Tank Battalion "Red Devils"

By Terry D. Janes


Memorial Graphic Created By Tim Leaf, Great-Grandson Of Mike Szymanski


Sgt. Mike Szymanski-1943


Tom Barry & Mike Zymanski-2007


On April 26, 2013, the world lost a true gentleman. My friend Mitchell J. "Mike" Szymanski was a real enigma of contrasts. On one hand, he was one of the bravest, toughest combat tankers in the Red Devil Battalion. Mike fought in every battle from Normandy to the end of the war, and was always in the thickest of all the fighting done by the 317th Infantry Regiment of the 80th Division, supporting the infantry troops with his tank. Mike had two tanks destroyed under him, and finished the war in a third tank. Mike wrecked death and destruction on the enemy, and he held a friend in his arms while he died. Mike watched another man die who had tried to save Mike's life. The other tankers of Company A, 702nd Tank Battalion Red Devils always knew that they could count on Mike to be there in the thick of the fighting, and never shirk his duty. Mike's bravery was legendary. In short, Mike saw it all, and he lived through the very worst that World War Two could dish out. On the other hand, in spite of, but maybe because of the war's horrors, Mike was one of the sweetest, most gentle souls you'd ever meet. It was my sincere honor to call this man my friend. Many others called Mike "friend" as well.


Later in his life, Mike worked on the Wildwood New Jersey Boardwalk. It was there that Mike got the nickname "Mr. Skeeball". Mike worked at the Mariners Arcade for the past 20 years, and it is safe to say that he made millions of friends with his gentle, friendly manner, and the boardwalk will never be quite the same without Mike. While working at the arcade, Mike never quit thinking about his Red Devil friends. At every reunion he attended, Mike became famous for bringing stuffed toys, usually a variation of a Red Devil, to each of the ladies who attended the reunion. Naturally, that thoughtfulness endeared him to everyone, and especially the ladies. Mike was a sweet man. There will be many people who will miss Mike!



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