World War II Veteran Vincent J. Speranza, spent 144 days in combat with Company H, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, and, at 95, is one of the estimated 600 or so remaining vets who served at the Battle of the Bulge. A few months ago, he jumped with the Black Knights.
However, in the Bastogne area today, he is far better remembered for a beer run than for his staunchly-defended machine gun nest.
Check out the detailed backstory behind that, below.
Note Gorenc’s strapped down M1 Thompson SMG and fighting knife on his boot. Notably, he chose not to use a Griswold jump bag for his Tommy Gun, preferring to have it available immediately when landing (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photo)
“Sgt. Joseph F. Gorenc from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the assistant S3 of HQ/3, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division climbing aboard the lead transport aircraft C-47 Dakota 8Y-S “Stoy Hora” of the 440th Troop Carrier Group at RAF Exeter Airfield, Devon, the UK on the night of 5/6th June 1944 for a drop behind Utah Beach on the Cotentin Peninsula of France near Cherbourg.
Sgt. Gorenc was taken prisoner on June 8th at St. Côme-du-Mont and reported as MIA. He apparently escaped from a Prison train in July and he was in action again at ‘Operation Market Garden’.
He returned home after the war, married, and had two daughters and at the age of 34 was an officer in a new startup manufacturing firm. While he, the owner, and another man were working late in the shop one night, an oil tank exploded. The young man; Joe and the owner were all injured but Joe’s injuries were life-threatening and he died two weeks later. (Taken from an account given by his sister Pat)”
Joseph F. Gorenc, born April 24, 1923 – died October 30, 1957, aged 34.