Private First Class Michael Macera was born on April 13,1920 in Johnston, Rhode Island. The 9th of eleven children, Macera grew up on the family farm. Even as a small child Michael had a sweet disposition, was well liked, and had a special bond with his mother. He began his schooling in a quaint, one-room schoolhouse in Simmonsville and completed two years of high school before dropping out to help his family on the farm. During the lean years of the Great Depression the Macera farm spared the family from the deprivations suffered by so many others.
According to his sister Angela Lombardo, Michael Macera was destined to fight for his country. While many young men who worked on farms were exempt from the draft, Michael was called to service in 1941, just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. For millions of Americans, the first real sense that ‘a war was on’ occurred when a loved one departed for military service. Angela recalls, “The whole family gathered together the week Michael left. He gave each of us a small memento to remember him. He gave me his class ring. I remember telling him I would give it back to him when he came home. He just looked away. It was as if he knew he would not be coming back.” Michael never made it home.
After being drafted in 1941, Michael trained as a machine-gunner before being assigned to Company C of the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Division. Although he was stationed in Africa and England, Michael first saw combat during the invasion of Sicily. In this campaign he earned a Bronze Star for pulling a wounded comrade to safety. His unit would land on the battered shores of Normandy on June 9,1944. Although the 41st were not the first to land, his unit played a very important role in capturing France, as he aided the 101st airborne in capturing Caretan, St. Lo, and later moved on to take part in Operation Cobra. Mike was killed on the first of September 1944, after the breakout from Normandy. While pursuing the Germans across France, his unit was fired upon by French resistance men who thought they were German. Michael was yelling in French for the resistance men to stop firing when another shot rang out!
God Bless Michael Macera
Rest in Peace