Anthony “Tony” Hadom, born May 15, 1920, joined the U.S. Army in 1940 and served until 1945. He received D-3 rank, 3 stripes for 5 years, awarded 4 Battle Stars and 3 Ribbons.
In 1940, Anthony had no occupation, so he joined the Army. He served until 1945 and discharged as a D-3, meaning he had 3 stripes. As to why Mr. Hadom originally enlisted, stating “he had no work” so he enlisted as a lot of young men did.” He spent 2 years in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) which was set up by FDR to give teenagers something to do. They worked hard helping farmers and doing state work. Note: The CCC was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the U.S. for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families as a part of the New Deal. Originally for young men ages 18-25, it was eventually expanded to young men ages 17-28. Robert Fechner was the first director of the agency, succeeded by James McEntee following Fechner’s death. The CCC was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor job’s related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men, and to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the U.S. At the same time, it implemented a general natural resource conservation program in every state and territory. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000. Over the course of its 9 years in operation, 3 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a small wage of $30.00 (about $547 in 2015) a month ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families).
After joining the Army, Anthony was sent to Kentucky, then Louisiana, then to the Carolina’s.
After Pearl Harbor, his unit was sent to New York. From there, they took a boat to Europe. He went to Ireland, then to England, then on to North Africa where he engaged in combat with the Germans. Tanks were a big part of the war. When the Germans had been “run out” of North Africa, the army moved on to Sicily, then to Italy where he went to Naples, then to Anzio Beach (a very small Italian town). Note: When one hears, or learns today of the events of World War II, everyone knows of D-Day at Normandy, Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, the Battle of the Bulge, and the dropping of the first atomic bomb. But few have any knowledge of what happened on the beaches of Anzio, Italy in 1944. By all accounts the battle at Anzio was one of the longest protracted battles of the war with over 25,000 casualties (killed, wounded, missing, or taken prisoner) on each side of the conflict.
He was close with his fellow soldiers. “They had to be close because they saved each other’s lives” said Anthony. While on free time, soldiers often rode the train to Italy to find entertainment. Tony remembers one battle where he was dropped off to guide tanks to safety. He was in the 1st Armored Division. Most of his “outfit” was killed in the ensuing battle which he missed while guiding tanks. He slept on the ground in Europe for 2 years. They threw canned food at soldiers for meals. There were 3 varieties. Note: In total, the 3 meals provided between 2,830 and 3,000 calories, depending upon components. As it was originally intended as an assault ration to be issued for short durations, the K-ration was designed to be used for a maximum of 15 meals. The K-ration was mass- produced by several major U.S. food production companies, including H.J. Heinz, Patten Food Products Company and the Cracker Jack Company. The rear of the line had a kitchen truck. They ate food in their mess kits, which was like a pan of food. They would wash out the pan if water was available. Anthony remembers the water in Africa tasting awful. They had to wash out their own clothes and “wash up” as best they could with the supplies they had.
Anthony always kept his wits about him, always praying and attending mass. While at Anzio Beach, Anthony was the only soldier that attended mass on a daily basis. He had to walk through dangerous woods to get there, always in fear of insurgents. German soldiers kept shooting in the woods so he dodged falling tree limbs and shrapnel.
Large U.S. ships came to Anzio Beach from the Mediterranean Sea. Donkeys laden with supplies left the ship and delivered to the units then returned carrying dead bodies. At times, up to 3 bodies would be tied onto the donkeys to be transferred home to the families. He then moved onto Rome, then back to Naples, then Africa, then Norfolk, VA.
While back in the states he attended some USO sponsored events. He then went to Fort Dix, New Jersey for discharge. Anthony was a radio operator who wanted to fly. He planned to re-enlist into the Air Force. Due to the war was still continuing, a transfer was not permitted during War times. He unexpectedly was offered a job at Wheeling Steel instead and decided to take it. Later, Anthony did realize his dream of becoming a pilot and owned his own plane.
Anthony is preceeded in death by his parents, John and Magdaline Tomas Hadom; brothers Max, John, and Frank Hadom; sisters, Claire and Pauline Hadom, Louise (Victor) Zavolas, Helen (Joseph) Cuchta. He is survived by his sister Blanche Hadom of McMechen, WV; nieces, Darlene (Pete) Paliswat of Shadyside, OH, Debra Robinson of Sunbury, OH; cousin, Diane Zavolas Schuster; nephews Joe Cuchta of Moundsville, WV and Michael Zavolas of Pittsburgh, PA.
Visitation will be held Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 9:00-10:00am, Altmeyer Benwood- McMechen Funeral Home, 214 Marshall St, McMechen, WV with Mass beginning at 11:00am, St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, 2111 Market St, Wheeling, WV; interment to follow at Mt. Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association/Lewy Body Dementia.