In Honored Glory!
World War II Honor Roll

Frank J. George

Sergeant, U.S. Army


53rd Quartermaster Truck Battalion

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: February 12, 1944
Buried at: Plot B Row 12 Grave 25
Sicily-Rome American Cemetery
Nettuno, Italy

Sergeant Frank George
lived in this house at
548 Pine Street, Camden NJ
with his wife Mary R. Gorge
and his parents
Mr. & Mrs. Paul George

SERGEANT FRANK J. GEORGE was born in 1917 to Paul and Josephine M. George. His father had come to America in 1910, and worked as a butcher for the Campbell Soup Company. Frank George was the second of three sons, coming between William and Nicholas, there was also a sister, Josephine. He attended the Broadway Elementary School, and Burrough Junior High School in Camden. The family lived at 619 South 3rd Street when the 1920 Census was enumerated. By 1924 the family owned a home at 548 Pine Street in Camden NJ. After leaving school, Frank George took a job at the RCA-Victor plant in Camden. He was inducted into the Army in May of 1942. After he had completed training he had received a brief furlough, and had married Miss Mary Resicci of Camden NJ in August of 1942 before going overseas. 

Sergeant Frank George served overseas as a member of the 53rd Quartermaster Truck Battalion while serving in Italy, after seeing duty in Tunisia and Sicily. 

In preparation for the July 1943 invasion of Sicily, the amphibious 2--ton truck, known as the DUKW, became available. General Dwight D. Eisenhower considered it, not the Higgins boat, one of the most valuable pieces of equipment produced by the United States during the war. He created an amphibious truck battalion out of forces already in North Africa. On May 28, 1943, the 53rd Quartermaster Truck Battalion was constituted in the US Army. It was activated on June 22, 1943 in French Morocco, North Africa, and served in the Tunisia Campaign with personnel and equipment from the previously organized 2637th Quartermaster Truck Battalion (Provisional). It had four lettered companies, A through D.

The 53rd Battalion initially received 109 DUKWs and became the first amphibious battalion just in time for the amphibious assault on Sicily. The 53rd Battalion was attached to the 531st Engineer Shore Regiment, 1st Engineer Special Brigade (ESB). By doctrine, each Engineer Special Brigade had one landing craft and one amphibious truck (DUKW) battalion attached to it. The 53rd Quartermaster Battalion subsequently provided the DUKWs for all the landings in the Mediterranean. At Sicily on July 9, 1943, it hauled Rangers forward in night assaults and supplied advancing units until trucks were available. This was the first amphibious landing conducted with DUKWs. The beaches along the Sicilian coast had shallow gradients and sand bars that made landings by amphibians more preferable than landing craft, however, there were not many good beach exits for trucks and DUKWs. The battalion then established the beach dumps, towed guns into firing position. 

From then on the US Navy assumed control of the beach landings in the Mediterranean, freeing the 1st ESB to prepare for the Normandy invasion. For that reason, the battalion (minus A Company) was attached to the 36th Infantry Division and landed at Salerno, Italy, on September 9. The planners determined that the battalion needed 400 DUKWs to sustain the large landing force. By that time the battalion had six DUKW companies attached to it. The battalion assigned 60 DUKWs to land with the artillery pieces and ammunition right behind the assault wave. Because of the difficulty of the infantry to clear the beach, the DUKWs circled out of range of the enemy weapons longer than anticipated. After waiting thirty minutes at Green Beach, the US Navy signaled the DUKWs to go ashore in spite of enemy fire. 30 DUKWs followed the directive but smoke on the shore obscured the land marks making it difficult for the drivers to find their exact landing spot. While the 60 DUKWs circled off Yellow and Blue Beaches, the beach master at Red Beach signaled them to land at his beach. As many as 125 DUKWs ended up circling off shore at Red Beach. They landed sporadically. One DUKW was rammed and sank with a 105mm howitzer and its ammunition. The crew swam to another DUKW and boarded it. 

After the initial landings, the 53rd Battalion delivered tanks, heavy weapons and anti-tank pieces with ammunition. From September 9 through October 1, the amphibians hauled cargo across the beaches until the port of Naples was secure. Then as many as 600 DUKWs conducted ship-to-shore missions at Naples.

To take pressure off of the planned landing at Anzio, the 5th Infantry Division conducted a crossing on the Garigliano River on the night of January 17-18, 1944. DUKWs of the 53rd Battalion ferried two battalions of infantry across near the mouth of the river in assault boats, one battalion crossed in DUKWs and landing craft at the mouth of the river. Only the DUKWs landed at the right location but the troops found themselves in a mine field. 

During the rehearsal for the landing for Anzio, 40 DUKWs were lost at sea near Naples. On January 22, 1944, the 53rd Battalion participated in the first assault wave on Anzio. Despite heavy and continuous shelling and strafing, the battalion established a record in the amount of tonnage unloaded. With between 450 and 490 DUKWs, the 53rd Battalion brought the cargo from the Liberty ships, anchored off shore, over the beach. The 540th Engineers, under the command of COL George W. Marvin, assumed control over the operation of the port and beaches.

Sergeant Frank George died on February 12, 1944 while serving with the 53rd Quartermaster Truck Battalion in Italy. His death was reported in the February 29, 1944 edition of the Camden Courier-Post, which stated that he was killed while attached to an engineer unit. This report taken in context with the fact that he was not awarded the Purple Heart would seem to indicate that he was killed in an accident.

Frank George was survived by his parents, by his wife Mary George, of the Pine Street address, his brother Nicholas, then at Camp Cooke CA, and his brother William and sister Josephine, at home. Nicholas George joined the Camden Fire Department in 1951, and served for several years at the Fire department's training center.