NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

December 13, 2013

'I want my story to get out there'

Newbury veteran's World War II memoir a finalist for national award

(Continued)

“What the hell stares us right in the face but the Germans, machine guns and all,” Palumbo said. “Ammunition is running back and forth, and riflemen, they are all there. I said, ‘Fire! Fire!’ But my guns ain’t firing. All of a sudden, we take a hit, and I see fire and shrapnel that hits me in the face and the hand and ripped my jacket open and put a mark right across my back. I was lucky though.”

Palumbo thought he would never get out of the tank, but somehow he did.

“The Germans kept firing at us with their machine guns and everything,” he said. “(But) I hid in a foxhole with two other guys. One of them starts to run, and he steps on a land mine. It blew his ankle right off. He is yelling, and I’m yelling at him to get the hell down. He’s yelling that he’s going home, and he’s running around on his stump. I thought I was a dead man.”

Unarmed, Palumbo and a pair of other soldiers backtracked their way across the Garigliano and to some relative safety. But he went right back across the river a few hours later and made it into Cassino, where he would spend the next 42 days.

“We were in Cassino, blowing up everything,” he said. “Germans were putting grenades on their rifles and shooting them at us. That’s what it was, back and forth.”

That was only the beginning Palumbo’s combat experience, which saw him serving alongside Audie Murphy and eventually taking Hitler’s mountaintop retreat.

“He had a big table there,” Palumbo said. “And I sat behind it and threw my feet up there and said, ‘All right, Hitler. Here we are!’ That was the last place we took.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Special Features