Rocky Marciano (Boxer)
(Rocco Francis Marchegiano)
b. 1 Sep 1923 – d. 31 Aug 1969
US Army (4 March 1943 - March 1946)
(World War II, Combat Engineer, European Theater)
Rocky Marciano, the real Rocky if you ask me, dropped out of high school after the tenth grade to work and help support his family in a variety of jobs — washing dishes, gardening and working both a candy and a shoe factory. On March 4, 1943, at the age of 20, Rocky enlisted the Army in Boston, Massachusetts and was sent overseas to Europe. Marciano was assigned to the 150th Combat Engineers and stationed in Swansea, Wales where he helped ferry supplies across the English Channel to Normandy. The 150th went on to receive service stars for Normandy, North France, Rheinland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe.
Although there's very limited information to be found about his time in the army - it has been established that Marciano first took up boxing in the service, reportedly as a way to get out of kitchen duty. While awaiting discharge, Marciano, representing the army, won the 1946 Amateur Armed Forces boxing tournament. After the war ended, he completed his service in March 1946 at Fort Lewis, Washington where he received an honorable discharge from the Army. He returned home to Brockton, Massachusetts and continued to box as an amateur, pausing briefly to pursue a baseball career and then returned to boxing and become the world heavyweight champion.
Here’s a copy of a Presidential Unit Citation issued for the 150th Engineering Combat Battalion in 1945. You can read more about this specific batallion here.
HEADQUARTERS XII CORPS
Office of the Commanding General
APO 312, U.S. Army NO. 124
21 AUGUST 1945
Under the provisions of Section IV, Circular 333, WD, 22 DEC. 43 and 2nd Ind, Hq Third US Army, 3 Aug. 45 to Ltr, HQ 1135 Engr. C Gp, 24 Jun. 45, the 150 Engr. C Bn. is cited for outstanding performance of duty against the enemy from 7 Feb. 45, to 13 Feb., 45, on the Sauer and Our Rivers in Luxembourg and Germany. The 150 Engineer Combat Battalion was assigned the mission of ferrying the assault troops and supplies across the Our River during the 319 Infantry Regiment's assault Troops on the Siegfried Line. Following the attack, which began at 0200, 7 Feb., in the face of withering small arms fire from Pillboxes with heavy Artillery, Mortar and Rocket Fire from the carefully planned positions of the Siegfried Line, this Battalion waged a bitter struggle with the raging torrents of the flooded Our River Repeated efforts were made to construct foot bridges, infantry support bridges, and Treadway bridges. However due to excessively and accurate fire from the fortifications of the Siegfried Line and the torrential water of the Our River, all efforts to construct Bridges or ferries met with complete failure. It was therefore necessary for the 150 Engineer Combat Battalion to rely entirely on the use of assault boats to support the Bridgehead until it could be expanded sufficiently to eliminate the small arms fire and the observed artillery fire upon the only existing Bridge site. On the night of 9 Feb., when it had been decided that additional troops could not be ferried until the 319 Infantry Regiment's bridgehead was further expanded, the 150 Engineer Combat Battalion was given an additional mission of constructing a Treadway bridge over the Sauer River in the vicinity of Dillingen. Despite the mailing casualties and the strain from the continual struggle against the flooded River, and with a spirit of grim determination, the officers and Men of the 150 Engineer Combat Battalion undertook their new mission. Throughout the night of Feb. 9 and the following day, small arms and accurate mortar fire from the Siegfried line repulsed every effort to construct the bridge. Although severely handicapped by the flooded river and the enemy's accurate mortar artillery fire, the battalion was able to complete the bridge on 13 Feb. The admirable spirit and devotion to duty of the gallant officers and men of the 150th Engineer Combat Battalion is in keeping with the highest traditions of the Corps of Engineering.