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Louis C. Graziano
Rank: Master Sergeant
Louis C. Graziano



102nd Field Artillery Battalion


June 6, 1944 onwards

Survived the war?
Wounded but survived
102nd Field Artillery Battalion

102nd Field Artillery Battalion

Through my eyes, heart, and soul

Louis C. Graziano was born on February 6, 1923, in East Aurora, New York. He entered active service on January 22, 1943, at Fort Niagara, New York, and was honorably discharged on January 3, 1946, at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

Louis served as a Master Sergeant in various headquarters units, including Special Troops Headquarters, Command Headquarters, OISE Section Com Z during wartime. At the time of his discharge, he was assigned to Headquarters Company, 102nd Field Artillery Battalion which was assigned to the 26th Infantry Division.

As a Master Sergeant, Louis C. Graziano led a platoon of communications specialists, responsible for ensuring reliable command and control for high-ranking personnel. He supervised a team of 35 men, overseeing various tasks such as plumbing, carpentry, electrical work, masonry, road building, and basic construction.


On D-Day June 6, 1944, Louis and his men landed on Omaha Beach in the third wave near the St. Laurent-Vierville exit in Normandy, France. Amidst the chaos, Louis abandoned a truck full of gasoline and joined the fight, taking positions at the base of a cliff with another soldier. He used a flame thrower to eliminate a German machinegun nest and fired flares to direct allied ship fire towards other enemy positions higher up the cliff.

After the successful landing, Louis and the Allied forces advanced beyond the shores of Normandy, liberating the French City of St Lo and eventually reaching the City of Reims. In Reims, Louis played a crucial role in history when he was ordered by General Thrasher to install General Eisenhower's phone line. This phone line was essential for real-time communication and contributed to a more timely victory for the Allies.

Battle of the Ardennes

During the "Battle of the Bulge," a dangerous mission led Louis and his captain to search for an element of the 3rd Armored Division to aid the encircled troops near Bastogne, Belgium. They successfully found the lost armored element but suffered frostbite in the process. Louis returned to Reims for recovery.

German surrender

In Reims, the historic event of Germany's unconditional surrender took place in the "Little Red Schoolhouse" where General Eisenhower had his headquarters. Louis was present in the room as General Yodl of the German Army signed the articles of surrender. U.S. General Walter Bedell Smith signed on behalf of General Eisenhower, and General Ivan Susloparov represented the Soviet High Command. French Major-General François Sevez served as the official witness. Louis C. Graziano is likely the last surviving witness to this momentous event.

Louis received the Army Good Conduct Medal, the European African Middle East Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Campaign Stars for Northern France and Rhineland, and the World War II Victory Medal. He was also qualified as a Rifle Sharpshooter and received a Certificate of Merit for his achievements as Utilities Foreman.


German Instrument of Surrender

The German Instrument of Surrender was a significant legal document that formalised Germany's defeat and surrender in World War II. Representatives from the German Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) and the Allied Expeditionary Forces, along with the Soviet High Command, participated in signing the agreement. French commanders were also present as witnesses. An additional declaration of surrender was generated and signed by the same parties, with additional members of the United States delegation and French witnesses present. These signings occurred on May 7th and 8th, 1945 respectively. May 8th came to be known as Victory Day (or V-Day) in Western circles, while May 9th is celebrated in post-Soviet states. In Germany, it is acknowledged as "Tag der Kapitulation" or the Day of Capitulation. The terms of the instrument were duplicated in three languages, with the English and Russian versions being the only ones officially recognised.

The preparation for the German Instrument of Surrender began on January 3rd, 1944, with the European Advisory Commission consisting of representatives from Britain, the Soviet Union, and America. They recognised the need for a single record of Germany's surrender and insisted on obtaining the signatures of the German High Command, aiming to avoid the confusion that arose after World War I when only German government officials signed the capitulation papers. In March 1945, diplomats from various European nations were brought together to provide input on the wording of this crucial document. Each nation sought to safeguard its own interests. For example, the Greeks demanded immediate surrender of any remaining German military personnel on their island, while the Norwegian representatives wanted the document to acknowledge the German surrender in Norway. The Yugoslavian delegation refrained from making recommendations due to ongoing internal political issues.

There were two ceremonies marking Germany's surrender to the Allied Forces. The first took place in Reims, France. Prior to this signing, there was confusion on the German side due to Adolf Hitler's suicide and the removal of Hermann Goring as the next in command. Eventually, it was established that Grand Marshall Karl Donitz was the supreme commander responsible for the decision. The instrument of surrender was signed in a small red French schoolhouse at 14:41 (2:01 p.m.) Central European Time on May 7, 1945, and it became official at 23:01 (11:01 p.m.) CET on May 8, 1945.

However, it was later discovered that the Soviet representative did not possess proper authorisation and there were minor discrepancies between the agreed-upon document of capitulation by the "Big 3" powers. Consequently, a second signing ceremony was held in Berlin to rectify these issues, with a duly authorised Soviet representative present and the terms of surrender verified. The second surrender act was completed shortly before midnight on May 8th.

Veteran's personal medals
Victory Medal
Victory Medal
Good Conduct Medal
Good Conduct Medal
American Service Medal
American Service Medal
ETO Medal
ETO Medal
Veteran's personal file
102nd Field Artillery Battalion DUI
102nd Field Artillery Battalion DUI

Motto: Sic itur ad astra or “This Is The Way To The Stars"

Personal photographs

Click on a picture for enlargement

Remember each and every sacrifice, made for your freedom!

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