BRUNO S. PREZTOS — CO. A-508
It is with deep sadness that I report on the funeral services of a mutual friend, and in my case a beloved comrade; Sergeant Bruno
Preztos of Co. A, 508 PIR Association. With his passing I feel a very close and personal loss, as I know do many others who shared foxhole and road march with this remarkable man.
Bruno died of cancer on July 4th, after a prolonged fight which spanned several years of painful internal disorders. He would hardly acknowledge either to others or even himself the seriousness of his illness. To him tribulation and hard times were only temporary obstacles of concern to no one but himself, he would always find his own way out.
Rosemary and Bob Malcolm plus myself visited him in the hospital on May last, he was his old undaunted and cheerful self. He was at the time planning to attend the reunion in Los Angeles, and spoke about seeing many of his close comrades with great anticipation. As you know Don he had a deep emotional attachment to both the 508 PIR Assoc., and its' lifeline the "Static Line." His fondness for these and his love for his family and fellow "troopers" were his lifeline throughout his adversity.
The services were attended by representatives from his WW II Platoon and Company, plus other 508_ units. The
Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Assoc., which posted a guard of honor at the wake. Floral Tributes were many, to include the 2nd Platoon Co. A, Company A itself, Company C, Hqs Co. 1st, the 508 Assoc. and many comrades, family and friends. He also received a floral tribute from friends in the Belgium area where he distinguished himself during the fight on the Rencheux-Vielsalm bridgehead in the dark December days of 1944.
Sgt. Bruno Preztos was a composite of the very best attributes of the American fighting man in his combat leadership role. There is no counterpart he was an American original. So long, "Gadget" —
I am enclosing a photo taken just after V-E day and a poem by one of his comrades from the 2nd Platoon, William Bell. This was inspired by the funeral services and the part Bruno played toward bringing Bill back into the Airborne "fold" in recent times after many years of "marking time." I think it is well done and a fitting tribute
— So Don the drum beat goes on —
George D. Lamm
written by George Lamm, appeared in the STATIC LINE, September 1985, Courtesy Static Line)
FAREWELL TO A FRIEND
— MY SERGEANT —
By William W. Bell 7/10/85
I followed slowly
with softly muffled tread.
With many of his comrades,
to bury our own dead.
The thoughts among us
yet joined in our remorse.
For he had been our sergeant,
and often set our course.
We thought of him as
and drew our strength from him.
He gave assurance and confidence,
to know that we could win.
He was coarse and
yet gentle too, a very special man.
And when the battle started,
he was in command.
The war was over many
before we found each other.
It was he who brought me back again
to my airborne fellow brothers.
It was he who made me
that we were special men.
What we went through and had to do;
we'd never do again.
So short a time passed
till death had come to claim him.
Our families met to begin anew
with friendship strong within.
We've had our time of
God willing we survived.
To take our place in family life;
til this sad day arrived.
We knew him and we
this paratrooper brave.
And now he's made his final jump,
as we lay him in his grave.