Their Stories


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(sketch by Ingrid Hardy) 

PFC Robert James Modracek was assigned to the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment in August of 1944. 

Eye witness accounts relate how F Company launched an assault on two German 88mm guns in Eindhoven (Woenselsestraat) with Private Modracek in the left flank. Either a mishandled grenade or a mortar shell detonating in the mortar tube, exploded, sending shrapnel into his chest, killing him. His name is one of 22 inscribed on the Eindhoven monument to the liberators from the 101st. 


He celebrated his 23rd birthday three days before he died.
He is buried in Shueyville Cemetery in Johnson County, Iowa.

  




 Thank you sir.


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I thought the scant information I could find on PVC Modracek was heartbreaking until I did some research before buying a new sketch.

There are no writeups about Pvt. John A. Vendelis and I can't even find his date of birth. I know he was someone's baby boy, and perhaps a naughty two year old. He was a teen whose rebellious nature may have spurred him to join the 101st. Or, perhaps he was in his twenties.

Regardless, I do know he left Maryland and made his way to Fort Benning, Georgia to join the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He passed training, shipped out with the 506th to England and finally, jumped from his 'stick' on D-Day.

He died that day.


His entire life is summed up in an entry on wwiimemorial.com:

John A. Vendelis
ID: 33066904
Entered the Service From: Baltimore, Maryland
Rank: Private

Service: U.S. Army, 506th Parachute Infantry Regt, 101st Airborne Division
Died: Tuesday, June 06, 1944

Buried at: Normandy American Cemetery
Location: Colleville-sur-Mer, France
Plot: C Row: 16 Grave: 46

Awards: Purple Heart



Thank you sir.


(sketch by Ingrid Hardy)


Edit: October, 2010 - I have located Pvt. Vendelis' enlistment record. In it, his birth year is shown as 1919 which means he was about 22 when he enlisted and about 25 on D-Day when he died. He was of Greek descent, and took two years of high school before doing some sort of metal work.

3 comments:

ruepprich said...

This short life summary surely doesn't do him justice. It would be nice to know more of him.

Joysze said...

Reading about Vendelis saddened me.

Psoras said...

John was from Edgemere a suburb in Baltimore, County, Md . His nephew is a local dentist --Andrew Vendelis , (410) 628-0086 . John's death on D Day was a tradgedy mourned by his parents , siblings ,family and community . Call Andy for more information . You may call me and I can fill in some gaps . Thanks for your remembrance and honoring a fallen son . Dennis J.Psoras , (410) -952-5837 .