|The 115th Infantry Regiment advances through St. Lo a few weeks before Pvt. Gardea was killed.|
Armando Martinez Gardea could have been 100 years old today.
He was born on April 15, 1917 in New Mexico. His parents were both born in Mexico. His father was an oil refinery truck driver. Armando had two younger sisters. By 1940 Armando had moved way from home. He had completed high school and found work as a typist.
Armando enlisted in the army on November 18, 1943. He became a private in the 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division (Nicknamed "The Blue and Gray"). The 29th Division was already in England when Pvt. Gardea enlisted, so he was most likely a replacement soldier. The 115th Infantry Regiment landed on D-Day and was engaged in fighting for the next couple of weeks. It suffered many casualties at Omaha Beach and in the Normandy hedgerows, requiring many replacements to bring them up to strength. 29th Division casualties in Normandy were unbelievably high -- 2,500 killed and 8,000 wounded. Keep in mind that a World War II infantry division had about 15,000 men.
Operation Cobra finally resulted in the breakout from Normandy by the end of July. The 115th Regiment was on the attack towards the town of Vire. On August 4, 1944 it encountered heavy resistance that resulted in the death of Pvt. Gardea. He was one of 21 of the Blue and Gray Division men who died that day.
Pvt. Gardea was near Vire when he was killed in action.
His remains were returned to be buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso, Texas.
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