A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

History: Sebastian Straniero, Keyport, Earns Bronze Medal in Germany (1945)

The 18 Oct 1945 edition of The Matawan Journal highlights two regional Bronze Medal winners (Sebastian Straniero of Keyport in Europe and Charles Schilke of Wickatunk in the Pacific) and provides that week's list of local soldiers heading home to Matawan (Charles W VanClief, Herbert H Schenck, Charles H Shinn, Joseph A Conzalina, Leo A Kalleta, and Richard V Voelker) , Keyport (Charles S Hopla, Charles Kegley, Frank Della Pietro, Clair Menzel, and Robert J Trusain?), Cliffwood (Edward T Cox, John D Boyle, Edward G Oakes), Browntown (Everett H Congrove and Frank Burlew), West Keansburg (Ira J Boyce), and Laurence Harbor (Frederick N Thomas).

The 1930 Federal Census shows Sebastian Straniero (8, NY) living on Poole Avenue in Raritan Township with his parents Grazio (41, Italy) and Mary C (35, NY) Straniero and siblings Nicholas (12, NY), John (10, NY), Salvatore (5 NJ), Charles (2 10/12, NJ), and Anthony (1 2/12, NJ). Grazio was a laborer at a truck farm. He had immigrated to the US in 1910 and was a permanent resident alien. He and Mary wed about 15 years earlier (he at age 27, she at 20).

According to his obituary in the 14 May 2008 edition of The News Transcript, Sebastian Straniero went on to serve in Korea through the National Guard. He was the owner/operator of Buddy's Barber Shop in Hazlet. He worked for the Hazlet Board of Education, retiring in 1991. He died in Morganville on 1 May 2008 at the age of 86. His brothers Nick, John, Charles and Anthony all predeceased him.  Two sisters and a brother survived, as did his wife Frances and two sons. Frances died in August 2010, according to her obituary on Day Funeral Home's website.

The article below is just one example of our area's human investment in the Second World War and how our local boys were in the thick of it. There were four Straniero brothers in the service; three would be home for Christmas in December 1945, according to the Journal.

Bronze Star Medal For Local Soldier
Raritan Twp. Youth Cited For Achievement In Germany; Expected Home For Christmas

Pfc. Sebastian A. Straniero, 23, son of Mrs. Mary Straniero, Raritan Township, R. D. 1 , Keyport, has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for heroic achievement in action on Apr. 6, 1945, in the vicinity of Zuttlingen, Germany.

The citation accompanying the award, reads as follows —"Private Straniero was advancing as lead scout of the platoon when he was fired on by an enemy machine gun about a hundred yards away. Falling to the ground, he signalled for his platoon to provide covering fire as he advanced to bring fire on the enemy. Crawling under fire, Private Straniero advanced 50 yards and, firing two shots, killed the enemy gunner, enabling the platoon to continue its advance. The aggressive action of Private Straniero reflects great credit upon himself and upon the Armed Forces of the United States."

Straniero, who expects to be home for Christmas, entered the army in November, 1942, and was sent overseas in March, 1943. He served for two and one-half years with the 43lst Anti-Aircraft Artillery, Aircraft Warning Battalion which on Aug. 6 marked its third anniversary of overseas service. He was transferred to the 63rd Infantry Division in December, 1944.

He attended the Raritan Township schools and worked at Eisner's in Red Bank before entering service. He has three brothers in service, and they are, John, seaman first class, who expects to be home also for Christmas after a year and a half in the Pacific; Cpl. Nicholas, with the 88th Division of the Fifth Army in Italy, who has been overseas two years and in service four and one-half yearn, and Cpl. Salvatore, now in Korea, having been overseas a year and a half. Nicholas, whose wife lives in Matawan, anticipates being home for Christmas, too.


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