World War II
Sixty years have passed since William Biagioni, 82, of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., jumped out of a plane over Normandy and fought his way through some of the fiercest battles of World War II.
He remembers it like it was yesterday.
“It’s a funny feeling about that day,” he says. “You felt like a king going into battle to slay the dragon. But once you land and start hearing small arms fire, everything changes.”
His eyes dampen as he recalls a curly-haired GI who was one of the first to die. “We used to kid him about his hair.”
“I landed in an orchard,” he says. “The moon was out. It was chaos.” He headed to Hill 30 and got his first taste of artillery fire. “You jump in a ditch and dig, dig, dig. We were surrounded by Germans. On the second night, we thought we’d be overrun. We fixed our bayonets.”
But his Red Devils of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment repelled the counterattack and held the crucial hill. Through the war, they never lost a battle, never gave up an inch of ground, completed every mission. All he says about duty is, “It was the right thing to do.”
“My wife, she calls me her hero. That’s good enough for me.”
After the war, Biagioni became a stonecutter.
“I made monuments,” he says. His most famous creation honors a hero of a different kind — the Babe Ruth monument in Yankee Stadium.
[Springfield News-Sun, Springfield, OH, 11 Nov 2004, Thu, Page 26]
Age 93, of Royal Palm Beach, passed away Feb. 09, 2016, Palms West
Funeral Home and Crematory, Royal Palm Beach, FL
[courtesy of Marilyn Biagioni]
William H. Biagioni enlisted in the Army
at Hartford, CT on 12 March 1943.
was transferred from Service Co to Hq 2nd on 2 March 1944.
He was promoted to the grade of Tec/5 on 22 October
1944. His military decorations include the Bronze Service
Arrowhead device awarded for participation in Normandy assault and the
Bronze Star medal awarded to WWII veterans holding the Combat
Following the war William enlisted in the National
Guard and attained the grade of WO-1 on 4 May 1968. This
grade, however, is not reflected on his grave marker.