LEST WE FORGET

37th ID Emblem


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In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved, and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.

Poem by: Col. John McCrea

 BACKGROUND

This page was born of an interest in gathering information about an unsung hero. Growing up I listened to bits and pieces of stories told by relatives about my Uncle Michael a WWII veteran who served in the S. Pacific. I have always collected family photos so when I obtained the below picture from my father’s sister of my Uncle Mike in a hula skirt it piqued my interest. Looking at this photograph I wondered - where was the picture taken? Who took it? What was his life in WWII like and what on earth was he doing in the jungle in a grass skirt and brassiere (I’ll explain that later!)?

Being inquisitive by nature I decided to dig a bit deeper. Originally I took this project on for sentimental reasons. Somewhere along the line I got hooked on finding out as much as I could about someone who served his country through possibly the 3 most difficult years of his life.

MY QUEST

My journey for this purpose has been anything but easy. I literally began with 4 facts to go on. First, I knew he had served during the war in Bougainville, secondly, I knew he had contracted malaria while overseas. I also knew he had been missing in action because my dad recalls my grandmother Rose receiving a Western Union Telegram from the Government stating so and lastly, I knew he had served in the US Army. Not much to go on but it was a start! 

THE MISSING PIECES

What I was missing was everything else - all the pertinent facts needed to trace his path from Newark, New Jersey to the South Pacific. I had no discharge papers, no medals, no dates to trace, and no clue as to where to begin my search. My dad and brother visited the cemetery my uncle had been buried in and got the first piece of real evidence – a death certificate with a social security number on it. The first thing I did after I got that was hit the local library to check out death notices from our Statewide newspaper, the Newark Star Ledger. Since my uncle had passed away in the late 70’s it took some time to scan all the old microfiche before I came up with a hit. From there I spoke with anyone and everyone I could think of, picking their brains for the smallest tidbit of information. I searched the Internet, wrote letters to strangers, called anyone that I thought could help. I posted notices in over 40 VFW’s within New Jersey and made a real pest of myself, generally speaking. I am far from knowing everything I’d like to learn. Photos still elude me. A roster of others that served with him has yet to be found. As time races by my task becomes more difficult. Recovering information about one individuals life from a period of time whose survivors become fewer each day reminds me that as I gain knowledge I lose a bit of ground as another vet passes. Some of my uncles buddies are in their late 70’s, some are older, some are gone and in their passing, the history of their lives is gone too unless, like me someone they knew is working to preserve it. While a lesser person would have given up a long time ago I feel my uncle has an important story to tell. I hope to preserve part of the History I proudly proclaim with my heritage. I hope too that I can bring honor to his name. I know that if he could see what I’ve been doing he would be embarrassed by the attention but touched by my efforts.  My uncle, like many others who served in WWII was wont to speak of his time in the Pacific. However, his war records, medals, and the accounts I have heard from others attest to his bravery, courage and commitment to the cause of freedom.

To date this is what I’ve learned:

HIS STORY: MICHAEL A. FAVATAWWII UNSUNG HERO/37TH INFANTRY DIVISION COMPANY M/145th INFANTRY REGIMENT.

Pvt. Michael A. Favata served as a heavy machine gunner with the 37th Infantry Division Company M/145th Regiment (Ohio Buckeyes) in the Pacific Theatre of Operations from 1942 - 1945 during WWII. In the course of his patrol he earned his place among the valiant men who fought to save our country and paved the way for democracy and freedom. 

His Tour of Duty included Campaigns in Guadalcanal, Manila, Bougainville, New Guinea & the Northern Solomon Islands. He was one of the hard-fighting men that stormed ashore at Lingayen Gulf on the Island of Luzon in the Philippines in January 1945, an endeavor for which he was awarded the Philippine Liberation Medal w/1 Bronze Star.

He received the Purple Heart Medal for his valiant war efforts. In addition he was decorated with the Good Conduct Medal, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal w/3 Bronze Stars (one star for each campaign) and the WWII Victory Medal. He also received a Bronze Star

Michael A. Favata – Somewhere in the S. Pacific

Photos posted here have been very hard to come by but I thank those who have lent them to me in order that I may share them with others. They show a portrait of 2 sides of a man who was dearly loved and is sorely missed. He was a complex individual who was a practical joker and never missed pulling a gag on some unsuspecting soul. In my endeavors to uncover some of the facts about his tenure in the Green Hell I came across a copy of Stan Frankels book "History of the 37th". Imagine how surprised I was when I turned to page 42 and found this pictureof him clowning around in what Stan describes in his book as a "Mock Neptune’s Theatre" (photo on left).

ABOUT THAT HULA PHOTO

I can’t lend any insight as to what kind of hell veterans suffer during battle. I can only tell you that my uncle had a tremendous sense of humor and an even bigger heart. He would give you the shirt off of his back if you had asked. My assumption is that in a grave situation levity can get you through even the worst of times. For him if that meant donning a grass skirt and brassiere to bring some humor to a cause he was not above doing that (obviously). Laughter can be a great medicine. His humor was unending and his generosity was too. Sadly, he also was plagued by demons that he fought every day which took him from this life at far too early an age.

.

Battleship U.S.S Mitchell during transport of 37th Inf. Div from Pacific to S.F California December 1945. USS Mitchell - Evarts Class Destroyer Escort Displacement: 1436 tons, Length: 289'5", Beam: 35'1", Draft: 11'10", Speed: 21 knots Armament: 3 3"/50, 1x2 40mm or 1 1.1", 9 20mm, 1 hedgehog, 2 depth charge tracks, 8 "K" gun projectors Complement: 15 officers, 183 enlisted Diesel-electric drive with tandem-motor drive; 6,000 h.p. Laid down by Puget Sound Navy Yard on January 12 1943. Launched August 1 1943 and commissioned November 17 1943. Stricken December 19 1945, sold December 11 1946 and broken up.

As the invasion of the Solomon Islands gets under way, U.S. troops go over the side of a transport ship to enter landing barges at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville. November, 1943

Troops of the 37th Infantry Division WWII assembled between campaigns.

Below are the meritorious decorations Michael Favata received - they are a testament to his promise to our Country. May he always rest in peace.

Bronze Star
Good Conduct Medal
Purple Heart
WWII Victory Medal
Philippine Liberation Medal
Combat Infantryman's Medal
Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
Philippine Liberation Campaign Streamer

Combat Infantryman's Badge

A REQUEST FOR HELP!

This search has led me to some of the other Veterans that served during WWII. There are 2 gentlemen in the photo on your left who remain unidentified. Their faces may be familiar to someone seeing this – if they are please let me know. I would love to hear from you. 

If you knew Michael Favata, have any info on the 37th, know of an upcoming Convention/Reunion, History Channel Segment or just have a common bond, please email me at Houndlvr1@aol.com, or send me your letters, comments, photos at the address below - they are all welcome and they will be honorably answered.

Many of the stories from his generation are waiting to be heard. You can click on one of the Links listed below to go to the History of the 37th, or read a personal account from another WWII Veteran (Ed Boothe or Stanley Frankel). If you want to share YOUR story I'd love to hear from you. Please write or email me. I may post your comments here to share (anonymously, if that is what you wish).

A NOTE OF THANKS

A personal note of thanks to the men and women (Ed Booth, Frank & Betty Lutze and Stan Frankel, among others), who contributed their stories, and continue to help me in my mission as this page is being created. I am forever in your debt. This story is still unfolding but you have given me a wonderful foundation to build upon. May life and time be kind to you all.

Sign Guestbook View Guestbook

To contribute a story/photo, etc:

Email me at Houndlvr1@aol.com or send letters/photos, personal thoughts to me via US Mail.

My mailing address is Patricia (Favata) Scully/19 Kenmar Road/Budd Lake, NJ 07828

LINKS

Pearl Harbor Archives

Frankel-y Speaking Hell on Hill 700 

Ed Booths Personal Account WWII Unit History
37th Infantry Timeline

PLEASE!! 

Support the WWII Memorial Monument (planned design pictured on right) by writing to your local Congressman or for more information check out the latest at either the History Channel or directly at WWIIMemorial.com.



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This page is a work in progress – Updated 7.06.2003

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