Eugene Bartolacci

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NAME:
Eugene Bartolacci
NICKNAME:
SERVICE NUMBER:
879278
HOME OF RECORD:
New Kensington, PA
NEXT OF KIN:
Parents, Atetcia and Loretta Bartolacci
DATE OF BIRTH:
8/10/1925
SERVICE DATES:
8/27/1943 – 12/12/1945
DATE OF DEATH:
3/11/1975
CAMPAIGN UNIT MOS RATE RESULT
Saipan H&S/14 641 PFC  
Tinian H&S/14 641 PFC  
Iwo Jima HQ/1/24 641 PFC WIA
INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS:
Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private First Class

Eugene Bartolacci was born and raised in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps just a few days after his eighteenth birthday, and within two weeks was traveling to Parris Island for boot camp. While there, he showed an aptitude for communications and was accepted for a course in field telephone instruction at Camp Lejeune. Bartolacci excelled at this new assignment, and on January 31 was rewarded with a promotion to Private First Class.

By April, PFC Bartolacci had crossed America and was in Hawaii, settling into his new assignment as a field lineman with Headquarters and Service Company, 14th Marines – the artillery regiment of the Fourth Marine Division. He served as a communicator during the battles of Saipan and Tinian in the summer of 1944, but that fall was reassigned to an infantry unit – HQ Company, First Battalion, 24th Marines.

Bartolacci’s next trial under fire was the invasion of Iwo Jima. Although he was performing a similar job – running telephone cable in the thick of battle – duty with a front-line infantry battalion was much different from an artillery service company. The young PFC lasted five days in combat – he was evacuated as “sick” to the USS Hendry; oddly, the ship’s casualty report contains no details about his condition, so his reasons for leaving the front line remain unknown.

War diary of the USS Hendry. The lack of information regarding Bartolacci is unusual.
War diary of the USS Hendry. The lack of information regarding Bartolacci is unusual.

Examination of Bartolacci’s USMC Casualty Card reveals that he received a shell fragment wound of the left arm on 23 February 1945; the main reason for his evacuation, though, was “shell shock / combat fatigue.”

PFC Bartolacci would be out of action for the remainder of the battle, but returned to duty on April 12, 1945. He spent the next several months with the battalion, training for the invasion of Japan, but fortunately, the war ended before he returned to combat. In December, Bartolacci was honorably discharged; he was only twenty years old.

Unfortunately, few details of Eugene Bartolacci’s life after the war are available. He returned to New Kensington for a time – he applied for veteran’s benefits from his hometown – but eventually relocated to California. He married Della Sims in a Las Vegas ceremony in 1969, but they were only together for a few years before Bartolacci passed away in 1975. Today, he is buried in Los Angeles National Cemetery, California.

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