CENTER FOR U.S. WAR
VETERANS' ORAL HISTORIES
World War II
Vincent Cassidy recalled that he was at an athletic event at the recreation center in his hometown when his father informed him of the attack on Pearl Harbor. As he expected, he was drafted into the army after he graduated from high school, as were all his brothers. Cassidy attended basic training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His most memorable experience during his training was being assigned to drive his colonel’s family from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Fort Bragg when he returned from leave.
After completing training, he was assigned to the 176th Field Artillery as a supply sergeant. The battery was shipped to Europe in 1944. Cassidy recalled the voyage being slow moving and not part of a convoy, which made him apprehensive, but fortunately there were no U-boat attacks. He remembered England as always being foggy. Cassidy’s unit was there for a month organizing supplies for their forthcoming landing in France. D-Day had already occurred by the time the 176th left England, but he still felt anxious while crossing the English Channel. The battery moved south from Normandy. They ended up under the overall command of General Patton and were involved in the Battle of the Bulge. As an artilleryman, Cassidy had the advantage of not engaging in firefights. The artillery was always behind the infantry units to provide indirect fire support. On one occasion, Cassidy was able to go to Paris on leave.
The weather was terrible during the Battle of the Bulge. It was extremely cold, making it easy to suffer frostbite. Cassidy’s role was to transport supplies to his unit, which had to be done at night and with the lights of the truck off to prevent ambushes. When he had to sleep, he slept underneath the truck, due to the warmth that its engine generated. During one run, Cassidy noticed a sign that read, “Help us, we are American prisoners.” Knowing better, he did not drive down that road. Cassidy later discovered that the trucks that did go down that road were ambushed, and the crews were killed by the Germans. During the Battle of the Bulge, his brother, John, was taken prisoner by the Germans and held for 124 days.
Cassidy survived World War II without having to fire a single shot. There were rumors of his unit being transferred to the Pacific for the invasion of Japan, but those rumors ceased when the Japanese surrendered. In the service for three years, he had the points required to go home and did. Vincent Cassidy earned the Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, European Theatre Medal, and the NJ Distinguished Service Medal.