Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MEMORIAL DAY - La Costa E La Guerra - Marvin Del Chiaro

IVANO SAYS: In 'La Nostra Costa', I have a whole chapter on the Coast and WWII. In fact in an end note (p.54) I mention the all Black 54th Coastal Artillery Battalion that guarded the Coast during this time period. In a reminder letter regarding the special ceremony in Santa Cruz honoring the Battalion, Retired US Army Colonel, Marvin gives some special insights about the Unit. Thought you might like to read it.

To: Undisclosed recipients:

Hi everyone, and especially former members of the old 422nd MP Co., (PCS).

I'm sure most of you are well aware of the upcoming ceremonies, but just in case:

Do you remember our First Sgt. in the 1960's, at the 422nd, Russell Dawson? He's now 93, and will be honored, along with another former member of the 54th, down at the Santa Cruz Lighthouse on West Cliff Drive on this Wednesday, Veterans Day, at 1000 hrs. (see Ramona Turner's article in Monday's Santa Cruz Sentinel for more details). If you can't find the link, email me, and I'll send you further information on the article. It was on the front page of the Xtra section of the Sentinel.

If you can make it, come by, and then join us for a lite lunch and video presentation by Chuck Woodson, at the Veterans Hall down by the old Post Office in Santa Cruz. Sam Farr and Bill Monning and other local dignitaries plan to be there. It should be quite an impressive ceremony, especially for those of us who remember the air raid drills, the "blackouts", the maneuvers, and the sandbagged trenches and gun emplacements along West Cliff Dr. during WWII.

The unit has a special place in the hearts of my family members, as part of the unit had a bivouac site located on/adjacent to my grandfather's (Ferrari) cattle ranch in Davenport, and for years after the war, you could still see the old latrine building and other temporary camp structures on the right side of the "old road", north of the cement plant and New Town, and just a few yards south of our "cheese room" building, which is still standing today, I believe, the one with the cupola.

Many of these young men (unit members) established quite a wonderful and lasting friendship with my family, and came over and played cards at night, and exchanged food from their mess hall for fresh eggs, milk and cheese from my grandfather's ranch/dairy. Members of the unit affectionately called my grandparents "Papa" and "Mama", and returned to visit them after the war.


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