82nd Airborne Division Blog

Private Amorose lands in deep water on D-Day

Private Orville Amorose jumped into Sicily with the rest of the invading 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment. Unfortunately, he landed on a brick wall, slamming his knee into it. He was able to continue on for the next several days, but his knee became so swollen, he had to be evacuated to a hospital ship where he remained for the next few weeks.

When he returned to duty, he was assigned to the newly reorganized Defense Platoon, which was assigned to Colonel Gavin (commanding officer of the 505) and his headquarters. Therefore, Amorose went wherever Gavin went.

Later, when Gavin was promoted to General and executive officer of the 82nd Airborne Division (of which the 505 is a part), Amorose was assigned to the HHq Company of the division. He was an assistant bazooka man.

The night of the jump into Normandy he thought was to be his last. He jumped from a C-47 and as he descended he realized he was heading for the fields that the Germans had flooded. (The Merderet River was blocked, flooding hundreds of yards on either side of the banks.) With all the gear he was wearing, not to mention the fact that he couldn’t swim, he had resigned himself to the fact that he was about to drown. Amorose figured the good Lord was watching over him though, because he landed standing up in water that only rose to his chest. Every day thereafter, in his mind, was a bonus.

The first person he came across was General Gavin. Gavin set up his headquarters, but soon had to withdraw to a different location. Amorose and another trooper (possible Sheehan) were left behind as the rear guard. (This is likely the action for which he was awarded the Bronze Star.)

It was mentioned earlier that he was an assistant bazooka man. For some reason the main bazooka man missed the jump, so Amorose took over that role, carrying around an inoperable bazooka for several days.

He also made the Holland jump later in the war and participated in the Battle of the Bulge.

While overseas, Amorose wrote several letters to a girl back home that he had knows since they were both children. Her name was Patricia Lanagan. He asked her not to get married until he came home and had a chance to date her. Upon returning home, he returned to Ford car company as an electrician and began dating Patricia. They were married in 1948.

Paratrooper Paul (Aronowitz) Andrews remembers situations with Amorose…

It seems our conversations dealt mainly about women – the army and personalities of other members of E Company (505), mostly officers as they were an odd bunch.

On weekend passes I think our primary goal was girls (before I met my wife). We also enjoyed eating out since anything out was better than the mess hall. We usually ate fairly well because most of the time citizens would pay for our meals without mentioning it. Not always, but many times our money was refused. There were nice people in Atlanta.

The thing to remember regarding weekends is that we didn’t have to many of them free. Also, as mentioned before, I met my wife in October 1942 and free weekends after that were spent with her.

We usually went to Atlanta by bus and agreed to meet at a certain time for the return trip and then we went our separate ways.

I don’t remember any specific conversations he had with any other men in the unit, but I know he was very popular and considered to be a friend to all. Everyone liked him. He always seemed to have a smile on his face.

My most vivid memory with Amorose on the Monterey (the ship that brought the 505 from New York to Casablanca) was that we spent about two days exploring every nook and cranny of the ship. We found a VERY small room (way down and way forward). In fact, it was so far forward that the room was shaped like a triangle. The significance of that room was that it contained only one item. A bathtub! A real bathtub. We told no-one about it as we knew it would be swamped with men. We however, used it many times over the two week cruise. It was salt water, but hey, a bath is a bath! Take it when you can.

This brings to mind (for the first time in years) another bathing session. In Sicily (I don’t remember where or when) there were about five of us that came upon a large pool that looked like a movie set for a Roman bath. It was obviously hundreds of years old with decaying tall Roman columns surrounding the pool, but the water was clear so we all took advantage of it and bathed. Amorose was there because we both remarked about the bathtub on the Monterey.

In Africa at Oujda (before jumping into Sicily), everyone – and I do mean everyone – had dysentery. (We called it “The G.I. Trots”.) There were thousands of flies in the desert. (Big black flies.) It got so bad that most of the men would not take a chance of sleeping in their puptents but rather spent the night sleeping outside the slit trenches we used for latrines. Each trench was encircled with a canvas fence (called a fly). Amorose and I both spent a few nights there.

In a related story, at Oujda we did a lot of training at night. Now this was a problem for most of us as we still suffered from “the trots”. So, one night Amorose had the trots and had to stop. We could not stop. I began to worry when Amorose didn’t rejoin us (it was a very dark night). Toward dawn we arrived back at camp and there was Amorose, peacefully sleeping.

He told me that when he realized he could not find us in the dark, he climbed a hill and looked around for lights. He knew the only lights had to be our regiments camp. He went toward the lights and in about an hour found himself very near E Company’s site.

A few days later I was in the same situation and followed the lights, but did not get back to E Company’s site until well after dawn.

Another thought about Amorose was in Sicily. We were all crowded onto trucks moving along in a convoy in the countryside when we heard machine gun fire from our right flank. (We knew it was the Germans because their’s fired so much more rapidly than ours. ) From our right coming from behind were several 109′s (German fighter planes). We all fell to the floor of the truck, which was difficult, because there were so many of us. I fell across someone and someone else fell across me. As I was looking at the floor of the truck a hole appeared in the floor before my eyes. As the planes passed over we jumped out of the truck to run for cover before they came around for another pass at us. We were heading for a nearby culvert which was about four feet deep. As I got to the culvert I saw Amorose pull a wounded friend of ours to safety. It is strange that I cannot remember his name. I know that he was from Virginia and was one of the nicest people I have ever met.

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One Response to “Private Amorose lands in deep water on D-Day”

  1. Good story. Thanks for sharing.

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