Eddie D’Amarino and The Big Red One

Eddie D’Amarino’s active duty began on October 15, 1941 and he received his basic training in the medic corp at Camp Lee in Virginia. After training, he was sent to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi where he served for 2 years. During his years in Biloxi, Helen remembers him complaining often about the blistering heat of the south and how he hoped to be transferred to a more moderate climate. Unfortunately for Eddie, there was no such luck, and his next transfer was to an even hotter location: Miami, Florida.

In Miami at the time, a number of hotels were confiscated and turned into army hospitals. Eddie lived and worked at the Nautilus Hotel on Miami Beach and treated wounded veterans there. Soon though, more troop replacements were needed in Europe and all able bodied men were transferred to the infantry and shipped overseas, including Eddie.

He served one year abroad and was assigned to the 29th division of General McAuliffe’s 1st army, or the Big Red One Division. During his time in Europe, he fought in many battles and his division received numerous declarations, and had 2 medal of honor recipients.

Helen recalls one funny story that Eddie told of how on cold winter nights in Germany, that he and some of the other men would go into the cellars of bombed out houses to try to get a good night’s sleep. He said that every single house – without fail – had at least one large barrel of sauerkraut in the basement.

Eddie was honorably discharged on January 18th, 1946. He returned home to his family in Brockton, and received a $300 bonus from the military for his service. 

Eddie D’Amarino in front of the Nautilus Hotel in Miami


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