Their Stories Told

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1st Lieutenant Norman Marozick

1st Lieutenant Norman Marozick (age-103 in 2022) of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Madison, Wi (ELS) received a great honor on May 31, 2022. He was inducted into the Madison VA’s Hall of Heroes.

As part of the ceremony, 1st Lt. Marozick’s son, Mark Marozick, read a speech written by Norman about his first day in combat shortly after the D-Day landings on Utah & Omaha beaches in Normandy.

“In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party grabbed power in Germany. He became dictator and built a powerful army and air force. He overran Western Europe, occupied France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Netherlands, and Norway, and bombed London every night. He had to be stopped!
When I graduated from Purdue in December of ’42 all of us who had taken all four years of ROTC Training at Purdue went home for Christmas. Then came right back to Lafayette, Indiana, and boarded a train for Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. After 12 weeks in Officer Candidate School, I was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Field Artillery on April 15, 1943.

I was assigned to the 26th Infantry Division at Camp Garden, Georgia, for training. In August of ’43, I hustled to Lafayette, Indiana, and Marge and I were married. We “sort of” lived together for 4 ½ months. Then on New Year’s Eve, I boarded the Aquitania (British Ocean Liner) and didn’t see Marge again ‘til late 1945. Then came 5 months of training while living in tents on the rolling hills near Cardiff, Wales. Each tent had a deluxe heating system – a pot-bellied stove in the center of the tent. June 6th, 1944 brought D-Day landings in Utah and Omaha beaches in Normandy. I joined the 4th Infantry Division a few days later replacing an artillery officer who had a mental breakdown after just a few days as a forward observer in combat.

 

My first day in combat was a day I will never forget. I knew no one in the 4th Division. I had to get acquainted with the three enlisted men completing our team while closely following our attacking infantry company. One man carried the receiver/ transmitter on his back; one man carried the BA pack on his back; the third man had a direct artillery fire whenever and wherever the company commander needed artillery support.


So, we are walking along, and we hear shells coming in. We drop flat on the ground; shells explode around us. We pick ourselves up and I hear one of my men babbling away scared stiff. Shell fragments had ripped the musette bag off his back – only torn canvass remained. But none of us was hurt!


That evening, while digging my foxhole, I heard more shells coming in. I dropped into my partially dug hole. One shell landed between me and the next foxhole. Fortunately, my hole was dug deep enough for me to go unscathed. My carbine and canteen did not fare well. To make digging easier, I had removed my pistol belt and laid it (canteen attached) at the base of a tree and leaned my carbine against the tree. My carbine stock was shattered, my canteen multi-penetrated.


In my prayers that night, I thanked God for bringing me safely through my first day of combat. It had not taken long for God to show me that He was protecting me and that I need only to place my trust in Him to continue His protection. And he did, day after day. Five months later, in mid-November ’44, I was again shown how he was protecting me. While walking back to the battalion command post to get a fresh BA for my receiver/ transmitter, shell fragments penetrated my left knee area. It became infected and 51 shots of penicillin were needed to save my leg. I was hospitalized in England in December of ’44 when the Germans made their desperate counterattack – the Battle of the Bulge. Another patient who arrived from that battle told me that the 4th Division was in the thick of battle and F Company was completely cut off and captured by Germans. This was the company to which I was usually assigned to be their F.A. forward observer…. What if my knee had not taken me out of combat before this strong German counterattack took place?


When the hospital released me, I was given six months of limited duty. I was in Verviers, Belgium, when the war in Europe ended. At this time, many GIs were being reassigned to the war in the Pacific. My limited duty rating kept me out of the Pacific. I was assigned to a reinforcement department in Schwabach near Nuremberg. When a point system for sending troops home was started, I went with the first or second group. I had accumulated points for the length of service for serving in four major battle campaigns and my Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart added more points. On October 25, 1945, movement orders came through which sent me home on a Liberty Ship for discharge at Ft. Sheridan, Illinois.


Now I want to back up and tell you about a humorous incident that occurred when the Germans were retreating in vehicles, and we were chasing them in vehicles. I was in my jeep, and we were passing them in a French or Belgian town. The street was lined with townspeople cheering us on. Our column stopped moving and suddenly an old woman rushed over and threw her arms around me and said, “You Polack? Me Polack, too!” I must have been wearing my Polish face that day!

In addition to the VA honor, The Wisconsin Badgers saluted first Lieutenant Norman Marozick, as part of their “Hometown Hero” presented by Kwik Trip. “Norman was a member of the Field Artillery Division in the U.S Army, earning both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star serving his country in World War II. Thank you for your service!”

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