Alfred A. Reboli
July 14, 2013
After my visit at the Brittany American Cemetery in Saint-James, France in June of 2013 I was having my doubts about adopting a grave here as it was quite a distance from home. But since I visit Normandy at least once a year and the Saint-James cemetery is not far from the landing beaches in Normandy, I decided to adopt one. After my application, the responsible told me there are still a lot of graves to adopt so I enlisted for a second grave there too. This is my first adoption grave in Saint-James.
Before the war
Alfred Reboli was born on January 13, 1925 in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey in the United States, where he grew up.
New Jersey, USA
Newark, New Jersey
Alfred was the second youngest of seven children. He had four brothers, Chester, John, Joseph and Eneo and two sisters, Mary and Angelina. His parents were Celestino 'Chester' Reboli and Louisa Lusadi.
His brother John also served in WWII, in the South Pacific. He was in the Military Police. After the war he became a Newark police detective.
Another brother of Alfred, Eneo, also became a Newark police detective and earned over 30 police commendations, like the New Jersey PBA Valor Award and the highest police state ward, the Medal of Honor.
Tino, Alfreds younger brother became a professional cyclist from 1932 until 1947. He became national champion in the USA in 1938 and 1939. He died at the age of 71.
Victor Reboli, one of Alfred cousins, also served in the navy during WWII.
Alfred and his sister Mary were very close, probably because they were very close in age. She was very proud of his service, but she remained very somber while speaking about his death.
Alfred's parents were born in Italy and immigrated to the United States.
In the army
Alfred enlisted in Newark, New Jersey on May 11, 1943. He was 18 years old when he enlisted in the army. He was very proud to join the army and serve his country.
He was in Fort Dix, New Jersey in May of 1943.
Camp Dix was established in 1917, named after Major General John Adams Dix, a veteran of the 1812 war and the Civil War.
During the First World War men were mobilized, trained and demobilized here. After the war the camp served as a demobilization camp. Between the two wars the camp was used as a public human service for unmarried white men without a job.
The camp changed from Camp Dix to Fort Dix in 1939 and became a permanent army base. During and immediately after the war the camp served as a mobilization, training and demobilization camp.
After the war it served as a camp for basic training for the 9th Infantry Division until they moved out in 1954 and the 69th Infantry Division moved in. The camp was deactivated on March 16, 1956 until the Vietnam war, when it served for training again.
At the moment the camp is still in use.
Fort Dix, New Jersey
Fort Dix, New Jersey
On August 13, 1943 Alfred was in Shelby, Mississippi for continued training.
This camp was established in 1917 and was named after Isaac Shely, an Indian war hero and the first governor of Kentucky. The camp served to prepare the 38th Division for World War I.
In 1934 the state of Mississippi decided to use the camp as a summer camp for the National Guard. In 1940 it was reopened as a federal base and men were trained for World War II.
The camp is still being used today.
Camp Shelby, Mississippi
Camp Shelby, Mississippi
Because of his presence in the Camps in the USA, we can conclude that Alfred did not take part in the actions in North Africa and Sicily.
On June 6, 1944, Alfred landed in Normandy with the 1st Infantry Division. He was in F Company in the 2nd Battalion of the 26th Infantry Regiment. He was very enthousiastic to fight for his country. Before he went to war he quoted that 'he was gonna get the nazi's'.
Location of the landing zone where Alfred Reboli and his comrades arrived on the 6th of June in the evening
The 26th Infantry Regiment started landing on Omaha Beach at about 19h00. Reboli's regiment got ashore east of La Sapinière, about west of where the American cemetery is located right now. They had to pass the 16th Infantry Regiment that got on land in the morning. That evening they took up defensive positions in the vicinity of the highway from St. Laurent to Formigny. Because of the heavy enemy resistance, the regiments had only gained a mile or so inland. The Germans were on maneuvers that night and were occupying the position of the beach defenses, call it a stroke of luck for them. On this first day the whole 1st Infantry division suffered some 3000 casualties in the assault.
On June 7 the 2nd Battalion occupied the high grounds at the crossroads between Mosles and Tour-en-Bessin. They saw resistance up north in Etreham. The village was shelled but they had to stop because 2nd Battalion was too close. The enemy dissapeared afterwards though. They crossed the Aure river and met little resistance. They were instructed to hold the positions for the night.
On June 9 the 2nd Battalion moves forward to Tour-en-Bessin in a big attack around noon where many more Battalions participated in. At night they dug in at La Commune, Les Malcadets, about 8 mile south of Tour-en-Bessin.
During the early morning of June 10, the 2nd Battalon slightly moved forward through Noron-la-Poterie. They passed on to Castillon. Today General Huebner complimented the regiment and mentioned that the 3rd Battalion of the 26th Infantry Regiment was the first to reach their Army objective in the entire beachhead.
On the 11th things are relatively calm. The Battalions are ordered to dig in for all-round defense and are instructed to take a breathing spell and to get their equipment in shape, pending further orders. The 1st Battalion is ordered to move out south to La Butte.
An order of attack is given on the 12th. The objective is Caumont and its surrounding high ground. The Battalions proceed with little resistance. By nightfall the 2nd Battalion has reached the outskirts of Caumont and is meeting stiff resistance on the northern slopes leading to town. The artillery is shelling the town and coming down too close to the Battalion.
On the morning of June 13 the attack on Caumont is renewed and by 09h00 the leading elements of the 2nd Battalion are in the town. The town is heavily shelled and is afire. The engineers are called for demolition work to clear the town of rubble. Caumont is secured along with its surrounding high ground by the 2nd and 1st Battalions.
From 14 June all is relatively calm again. On the 14th the enemy is trying to locate the weak spots of the defense, artillery begins to hammer enemy positions as the Battalions settle down into defensive positions.
On the 15 there's a period of patrolling by the Battalions, as well as by the enemy. When the enemy appears mortars and artillery were fired upon them night and day. The Battalion combat and reconnaissance patrols reveal that the enemy is holding strong outpost lines and is laying extensive mine fields to their front.
The situation remains under control. On the 18th F Company is dug in east of the center of Caumont.
One of the most iconic pictures from D-Day. In this picture you can see A Company of
the 16th Infantry Regiment disembarking on Omaha Beach. Reboli's F Company of the 26th
Infantry Regiment was 'more lucky' to arrive in the evening of June 6, 1944.
On June 21 the 2nd Battalion was dug in in the north of Sept-Vents. Their left flank was being heavily shelled. The Battalion took 2 prisoners from the 7th Co. 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Panzer Grenadiers. A day later a small enemy patrol tried to penetrate the left flank again but the Battalion was able to beat them off.
2nd Battalion discovered about 35 S-mines southwest of Caumont. This information was very helpful for the rest so they were not surprised by these horrible things. Later that night they made a trap with the mines and told all other battalions and units to keep away. The following days were rather calm.
The 1st Division made the deepest Allied penetration in the Caumont sector in France and at the beginning of July they were still maintaining this salient deep in the enemy territory. The 2nd Battalion received a daily mortar and artillery pounding by the Germans. In this period all was relatively quiet, a lot of patrolling, now and then some shelling, but nothing exciting happened the coming period.
The 2nd Battalion had a forward outpost at their position to where several German nurses were brought to transfer them back to the Germans on the 10th. It's not clear what the deal in return was.
On the 14th July the regiment moved out of the vicinity of Caumont to Mestry in a resting area. On the 19th the 2nd Battalion moved to Ste.-Jean-de-Daye, after receiving hot showers and B rations. Nothing much happened the coming days, until that fatal 28th of July.
Death of Alfred Reboli
Alfred was killed in action on July 28, 1944 in France. The 26th Division was directed to move through Marigny to Guesnay to take up positions on the high ground in that vicinity and organize all-round defense. The 2nd Battalion was not part of this column yet, only 1st and 3rd Battalion, Command Group and 33rd Field Artillery. Shortly after they moved through Marigny, the column ran into heavy road traffic and had to move at a snail's pace from there to its destination. The motorized column moved to within 300 yards of its final position, detrucked and pushed forward. The 3rd Battalion on the rigt, 1st Battalion on the left, met scattered resistance, losing one tank and capturing 5 prisoners. They arrived about 15 minutes after the enemy had left.
In the evening at 17h30 2nd Battalion joined in and attacked towards the East and ran into a strongpoint on the river south of Savigny. It had moved a company around the right flank through our sector in an attempt to flank it from the North, but was making no headway. About 18h30 they made contact with 2nd Battalion of the 16th infantry Regiment.
Eneo, one of his brothers found out that his appendix burst while he was in a fox hole and the medical help didn't make it to his fox hole in time. Unfortunately this story can not be confirmed. Most likely Alfred was killed in action on July 28 and he was awarded the Purple Heart that day too. The IDPF mentions a gunshot wound as a cause of death. On his body, following effects were found: a wallet, photos and 57 francs.
Somewhere in this river banks the 26th regiment had an encounter with German troops on the 28th July, 1944.
It is possible Alfred Reboli was KIA in this area.
Alfred was buried at the temporary American cemetery in Marigny on August 1, 1944. Eventually 3.070 American soldiers were buried here. At the end of the 40's all bodies were transferred to the two major American cemeteries in Colleville-sur-Mer and Saint-James or repatriated to the US. The ground was given to the German government who created a German war cemetery here and brought all small German cemeteries together to this location and created a big cemetery.
Alfred's father enquired with Alfred's sergeant about how he had died, but although he spoke highly of Alfred, he advised in a letter back that he could not reveal the nature or cause of Alfred's death.
Alfred's parents put an ad in the paper after the war, in which they were looking for comrades of him who might know what happened to their son. It's not known if they got any reaction on it, but most likely they didn't.
Alfred Reboli was permanently interred at the Brittany American cemetery in Saint-James in France on 18 December 1948.
Brittany American cemetery, Saint-James, France
26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
26th Infantry Regiment
1st Infantry Division
Private First Class
The 26th Infantry Regiment was nicknamed 'the Blue Spaders', because of the logo that looked like a spade in the insignia. The regiment was founded by the American army in 1901 because the army couldn't hold their promises towards Cuban the Philippines and Puerto Rico with the current army.
The regiment became part of the American Expeditionary Division in 1917. This division was later renamed as the 1st Division, better known as 'the Big Red One' because of the patch with a big red letter one in it.
During the First World War the took part in the Montdidier-Noyon campaign, the Aisne-Marne campaign, the St. Mihiel offensive, the Meuse-Argonne offensive, the Lorraine offensive (1917 and 1918) and the Picardy campaign (1918). The first American victory happened around April 1918 and was won by the 1st Division in the French village of Cantigny. In total 22.688 men of the division were killed, wounded or missing. Five Medals of Honor were awarded to men of the 1st Division.
During the Second World War the division took part in the Algeria-French Morocco campaign, the Tunisia campaign in which 'the Big Red One' was co-responsible for the liberation of the country, Operation Huskey in Sicily, the best known campaign of the war known as D-Day on June 6, 1944 in which the 1st Division went ashore as a spearhead on the best defended beach of Omaha Beach where some units lost 30 procent of their man only during the first hour. Also in Operation Cobra, the Hürtgenwald battle, the Battle of the Bulge, Remagen and Central Europe. During World War II 3.616 men of the united were killed and 15.298 were wounded of whom 664 died. The division earned 17 Medals of Honor.
The Big Red One fought in Vietnam, the Gulf War, Kosovo and terrorism currently, and many more.
In July 2013 I got in contact with Elizabeth G., thanks to my loyal American friend Andi. Alfred was the brother-in-law of her mother-in-law. I received some information about Alfred from her, but unfortunately she doesn't know very much about him.
In January of 2016 I woke up and saw I received an e-mail from Larry C. He is the grandson of Alfred's sister Angelina. He got me some information about Alfred too. Larry C. is a singer and actor.
On June 6 of 2016, while being in Normandy for the D-Day commemoration, I received an e-mail from another relative of Alfred. Jennifer D. is the granddaughter of Alfred's other sister, Mary. She has provided me more information about Alfred and his family.
In March 2018 I was researching Alfred Reboli again. I found pictures of me at Reboli's gravesite on the ancestry website which were not added by me so I left a message under the picture to contact me. Soon after that I received an e-mail from Jennifer H. Her grandmother was the cousin of Alfred Reboli. She provided me more information about him and his family by now, like the newspaper ad his parents put in the paper.
I am very happy these people were able to help me make a life story for this young man who gave his life for our freedom.
Private First Class, U.S. Army
Service # 32921388
26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, F Company
Entered service from: New Jersey on May 11, 1943
Born: January 13, 1925 in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey
Hometown: Newark, Essex County, New Jersey
Died: July 28, 1944 in France
Status: killed in action (KIA)
Buried: Plot I, row 8, grave 21, Brittany American Cemetery, Saint-James, France
Awards: Purple Heart
Father: Celestino 'Chester' Reboli (1890-1953)
Mother: Louise (Lusadi) Reboli (1887-1973)
Brothers: Chester 'Tino' (1913-1985), Joseph (1911-2007), John (1919-1998), Eneo (1928-2007)
Sisters: Mary (Pellegrino) (1923-2015), Angelina (Brustia) (1915-1986)
- http://www.wwiimemorial.com NARA
- http://www.wwiimemorial.com overseas American cemeteries
- http://www.wwiimemorial.com honoree
- Andi Hunting
- ELizabeth Gaestel
- Larry Costa
- Jennifer Dearborn
- Jennifer Handlin
- 16th Infantry Regiment Historical Society
- First Division museum
- Individual Deceased Personnel File
Any information you can provide me about this soldier, can be mailed to me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you!