July 30, 2013

Robert O. Giroux

My name is Lance Giroux. I live in Petaluma, California. My brother is Frank Giroux (Kearny Arizona), and my sister is Charlotte (Giroux) Johnson (Phoenix Arizona). Our father's name was Robert O. Giroux. During WWII he served as a lieutenant in the 109 Engineer Battalion, 34th Infantry Division. I just found his name mentioned twice in a blog posting with your email addresses listed.

Dad died October 15, 1981 in Kearny, Arizona, at the age of 60. I understood that he was medically retired from the Army as a result of injuries received in Italy at the Battle of Casino. After the war he married my mom, they moved to Tucson where my brother was born in 1946. Dad completed his college education at the University of Arizona. He then went to work as a mining engineer at the Ray Mine owned by Kennecott Copper Corporation. Except for a couple of years in the early 1950 when we lived in Kingman, Arizona, he lived all of the rest of his life in Ray AZ and then the small town of Kearny (near Ray) that grew in 1958 as a result of the mine's expansion.

From what I read in the blog, I am assuming that you knew him. The blog shows a Lt. Giroux was a platoon leader. In the blog near the mentioning of "Lt. Giroux" it also references a Lt. Belinski who died. "Mike Belinski" was a name my dad mentioned a lot as being his friend who was killed. If you or anyone else who may have served with him have any memories and photographs of my father please let me know, as my brother, sister and I would appreciate hearing from you. The impact of his experiences in the war greatly affected him for his entire life, and as a result affected everyone in our family. Anything that you can share with me that you feel OK about discussing with me/us would be much appreciated - from what platoon and company he served with, to what you knew of him when you served together, to what he was like ... anything at all, no matter what.

My brother, Frank, served as combat engineer in Viet Nam, and on returning to CONUS from Viet Nam as a NCO drill instructor at Ft. Leonard Wood. I served in the Army with the 25th Infantry Division (1973-1977) at Schoefield Barracks. My sister's former husband retired from the Air Force as an aircraft engine mechanic, and one of their son's served as an aircraft mechanic in the Navy aboard an aircraft carrier. So we have all have personal relationships with military service beyond what our father left us with.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this email, and for considering my request.

Also, if my connection is correct that you did serve with my father, thank you for anything that you may have done for him or that may have kept him alive or healthy when you knew him. And thank you for all that you gave in your years of service to our country.

I am attaching a scanned picture of my mom and dad taken on their wedding day in September 1945. I hope it brings good memories. You are welcome to post this picture in the blog, along with my slightly altered text of email that I sent you yesterday. Please see below to the end of this email for the text to post on the blog.

Sincerely and respectfully yours,

Lance Giroux

PO Box 931 Petaluma, California 94953

tel 707-769-0328 mobile 707-364-2900

email: AlliedRonin@aol.com


From: Clif Hullinger clifhul@gmail.com

To: Lance Giroux alliedronin@aol.com

Hi Lance: Yes, I knew your father very well. He probably came to the 109th in Ireland when we got several new officers while getting ready for the Nov 8 invasion of North Africa. While our A company was part of the task force that took Algiers, the rest of us came later, got reorganized and moved to Tunisia. One platoon of Co. C was captured in the Kasserine Pass counter attack along with most of their combat team but the rest of us were involved in the final conquest of Tunisia. I have a history of our involvement in the Tunisian campaign and a list of the officers and men as of Jan. 3, 1943.

He is listed as Giroux, Robert O. 2nd Lieut. 0-1102742 Specl Serv Officer so apparently he had not yet been assigned to a company. Two other officers had similar serial numbers so were probably in his same group. 2nd Lt. Mike Belensky (0-1102622) had my platoon, and Lt. Louis Bianchetti (0-1102627) was in "B" Co. Other 2nd Lts. were Glenn, Hanna, Hummel, Mangler, King, McCormick, Reoh, Robertson, and Weidle.

The 3 line platoons staff Sgts in Company A were myself, Lyle Haug, and Joe Culver. Lt. Belensky had had my platoon since Ireland. King and Weidle had the other platoons. As we approached the major German line in Cassino, their delaying action stiffened and we started losing people. We were just north of the town of Venafro when Belensky was killed and King who was now acting Captain was wounded by a mine. Lt Sheets was wounded along with many of the third patoon in an air attack. My platoon lost our weapons squad in another attack. I don't know when Lt. Giroux came to lead Haug's platoon but he may have been the senior (and only) officer in the Company for a short time till the Bn reorganized.

You probably read Lyle Haug's story where he mentions Lt. Giroux in Craig's blog. Lyle died a few years ago but wrote his story from memory. He was a very good friend of mine, but his memory is about like other old soldier's so he made a few mistakes! He doesn't say anything about Lt. Giroux injury. I vaguely recall hearing that the platoon was building a bridge, a small bailey or similar at night. Anyway I heard that Lt. Giroux got his hand smashed. I know how easy it would be for such an accident but I don't know any more that that. When someone goes to an the medics, they don't send back reports so we would have never heard how serious it was unless he wrote back the details

If you have any other questions, let me know.

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