My Autobiography by Michael Normandy, Sr.

The Army Years

During World War II, I joined the New York Guard in March of 1943  when I was just seventeen. Then In May of ‘44, I entered the U.S. Armed Forces for one year.  I went in as a Private.  I was eighteen by then and lived at home with my Mom and Dad and my 8-year-old sister Priscilla at 37 Conselyea. Street in Brooklyn, New York. This photo of me was taken in the back yard of that house. Behind me is a two-story rear house with two rental apartments. The downstairs apartment was rented to a very old woman whose name I never knew. She only spoke Italian. We always just called her "The Old Lady."

 

My older sister Jean got married to Pete Lomuto in May of 1943. I was their Best Man. Then they rented a small apartment on Conselyea, across the street from us. They had the first TV in the neighborhood. A few months later, in September of ‘43, Pete went into the Army, too, and Jean went to live with Pete’s family until he was discharged in '46. 

        Here I am on the left at 17; our first cousin Genevieve Normandy was Maid of Honor at 21;
and, of course the bride was my sister, Jean who was also 21, and her husband, Peter Anthony Lomuto, Sr. who was 23.
Back then we got married a lot younger than kids today.
 
Before I graduated high school, I already knew I wanted to be in the military after graduation. When my Mom heard of it, she was against it and let me know it! She had so many fears that I would go to war and never come home again. Nevertheless, I enlisted on March 29, 1943 in Brooklyn in the New York Guard. My Service Card is actually on the Internet now. It shows that I was only 17. Mom was 40 at the time. She had a fit because I was her Sonny Boy and she didn't want me to go. Every able-bodied boy or man had to serve in World War II. Next thing I knew I was assigned to Co. C, 23rd Regiment
 
​Mom didn't like it and I understood her feelings when I had a son of my own, my Michael. I can't imagine him being in the Army at 17. Thank God there was no war or draft for him. Pretty soon Mom proudly hung the service banner with the blue star in our front window. It showed the world that they had a son serving in the military. God forbid there was a gold star. That would mean that their son had lost his life in the service. Mom cried when she saw a gold star and made the sign of the cross and prayed for the grieving family.
 
 
The service banner was a big deal. The size ratio had to be exactly 10:19, the same as the United States flag. A support organization was formed called the Blue Star Mothers. Mom never went. I don't know if she even knew about it. There were 30,000 members during World War II. I read that that organization is still active.
 
 
  

    But back to my days in the service. I had been assigned to Company C, 23rd Regiment. A year later, in November of ‘45, I reenlisted as a Technical Sergeant. 

Pete got discharged in February of 1946, after serving almost two and a half years overseas.

My grandson, Michael Normandy, was asking me recently about my time in the service.  I told him about some of the rifles that were used then.

The Springfield 1903 Bolt Action rifle was for snipers. This is what it looked like.

 

The M1 Garand was the official assault rifle for the troops.

 I always debated about bringing home an M1 rifle, but my Mom would have freaked out!

 

The Garand Rifle

The Enfield was a secondary rifle.

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Now Playing: "My Mammy"

Performed by Al Jolson

Songwriters: Sam Lewis, Walter Donaldson, and Joe Young

From the Album: 20th Century Masters

The Millennium Collection

Best of Al Jolson

My Mammy

Everything is lovely

When you start to roam;The birds are singin', the day that you stray,
But later, when you are further away,
Things won't seem so lovely
When you're all alone;
Here's what you'll keep saying
When you're far from home:

Mammy, Mammy,
The sun shines east, the sun shines west,
I know where the sun shines best
Mammy, my little mammy,
My heartstrings are tangled around Alabammy.
I'm comin',
Sorry that I made you wait.
I'm comin',
Hope and trust that I'm not late, oh oh oh
Mammy, my little Mammy,
I'd walk a million miles
For one of your smiles,
My Mammy! Oh oh oh

Mammy, my little Mammy.
The sun shines east, the sun shines west,
I know where, the sun shines best!
It's on my Mammy I'm talkin' about, nobody else's!
My little Mammy,
My heartstrings are tangled around Alabammy.
Mammy, Mammy, I'm comin',
I'm so sorry that I made you wait!
Mammy, Mammy, I'm comin'!
Oh God, I hope I'm not late!
Look at me, Mammy! Don't you know me?
I'm your little baby!
I'd walk a million miles
For one of your smiles,
My Mammy!

 

 

 

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