|327th Glider Infantry Regiment troops in a glider.|
Soldiers from Ralph Poloian's Company C.
Ralph M. Poloian never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on June 8, 1917 in Massachusetts. His mother was born in Canada and his father was born in Armenia. His father came to America in 1905. He owned and operated his own grocery store. Ralph had one older sister, two younger brothers, and one younger sister. He completed four years of high school.
He enlisted in the army on February 26, 1941. Prior to enlisting, he had worked as a paperhanger.
At some point after enlisting Ralph became a private first class in Company C, 1st Battalion, 327th Glider Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne. He doubtlessly participated in the pre-dawn D-Day glider landings behind Utah Beach and the airdrop into Holland to take the bridges for the British XXX Corp failed advance to Arnhem.
The 101st was pulled out for rest in December 1944, but was famously sent back to the front lines to defend Bastogne from the Germans. The 327th GIR was assigned to defend the NE portion of the surrounded Americans. The Germans determined that this was the weakest segment of the line and determined to punch through the lines here. In the run up to their Christmas Day attack they hit the 327th with artillery and a Christmas Eve bombing attack. This was probably the cause of Pfc. Poloian's mortal wounds. He died on December 24, 1944.
His grave is at Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington, Massachusetts.
Also born on June 8, 1917 was Byron White who earned the nickname "Whizzer" while an All-American running back for the University of Colorado. He was runner up to the Heisman Trophy. He also played on their basketball team which was one of the best in the country. He played one year as a top NFL draft pick with the Pittsburg Steelers after which he went to London as a Rhodes Scholar. When the war in Europe started he came home and played two more years in the NFL for the Detroit Lions before joining the army in 1942.
He was turned down for the Marines because of colorblindness. He served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific. He was the officer who wrote the intelligence report on the sinking of PT-109, skippered by John F. Kennedy. He was a lieutenant commander by the end of the war.
|Future Supreme Court justice Byron White served in the Navy during WW2.|
After the war he earned a law degree at Yale. He was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Kennedy in 1962 and served until he retired in 1993. He died in 2002.
Of the 400,000+ fallen who never came home, we will never know how many could have raised to similar heights of accomplishments.
On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!
To mark having over 100,000 visits to my project to honor the fallen of WW2 on their 100th birthdate, I created this video to share. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXt8QA481lY
Join the public Facebook group WW2 Fallen 100