Pvt. Thomas A. Balducci, 2/2
Thomas was born on 24 December 1920 in Hartford Conneticut. After the Japs attacked Pearl Harbor Thomas decided to elist in the Marine Corps but waited untill Dominick, his younger brother, was old enough to help their father support the household. Already serving in the military was their older brother, Mike, and even later their kid brother, Pete. In the summer of 1942, Thomas enlisted in the U.S.M.C. He did his basic at Paris Island, and advanced training at Camp Lejeune. He shipped out to New Zealand where he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Regiment, 2nd Division. I do not know his company, but one of his comrades was a fellow named William (Billy) Hicks who was WIA.
Thomas in New Zealand.
Thomas went into Betio on the 2nd or the 3rd wave, and his regiment was badly mauled. He managed to reach the sea wall in one piece. He did see his commanding officer, Lt.Col Amey, cut down and killed, along with many of his comrades. They were under heavy machinegun fire, not only from the bunkers, but also from a sunken ship, then on top of that the fly boys were dropping their bombs on the Marines too. While hunkerd down behind the sea wall, Thomas saw wounded men in the water and left the relative safety of the seawall to rescue a few of these wounded men according to William Hicks.
Not much later, they were ordered over the sea wall. Thomas advanced, under heavy machinegun fire as well as mortar fire. Thomas recalled seeing bullets passing thru his legs and seeing his comrades being cut down left and right, but he was not touched. He said he could hear the mortar rounds leaving the pipe. There was a B.A.R. man about thirty yards to his left pouring it into the Japs but exposing his position. Thomas said he saw a mortar round hit the B.A.R. man squarely on the helmet. This same round got Thomas too. It was the end of the battle for Thomas and the war too. He was evacuated (God bless the corpsmen) to a hospital ship and back to the states. He spent several months in the hospital, and received a medical discharge. He later got married and had six children. In the early 1960s he died of natural causes.
Submitted by Dominick R. Balducci. Thanks Dominick!!
Painting of Thomas by his brother Dominick and another portrait taken in New Zealand.
copyright 2001 T.O.T.W.
Created 22 June 2001 - Updated 13 September 2003