Paul P. Ribera
Paul P. Ribera
Paul Ribera was born in 1924 in Middletown Connecticut. He was the last of eight boys and had six sisters. When the United States entered the war in late 1941, Paul was still in high school. His older brother John would enlist early on and headed for the Pacific with the 4th Marine Division. His brother was severely wounded while engaging the Japanese on the Island of Tinian.
Pauls initial training was with the elite 10th Mountain Division, at Camp Hale in Colorado. Paul trained with Company C of the 90th Infantry Regiment, which specialized in alpine combat techniques. The 10th Mountain Division distinguished itself in Italy. Like others in the summer of 44 he found himself a rifleman in the 84th, "Railsplitter" Division. Gearing up for overseas shipment, the ranks of the 84th were filled out with numerous transferees and "ASTP Boys".
While many at the time thought the 84th would not see any action or be an Army of Occupation, the Wehrmacht was not at all ready to cede defeat in the fall of 1944. With operation "Herbstnebel", translated "Autumn Fog or Mist", (now known as the battle of the bulge) in the works, the Germans were not willing to give an inch of ground without a fight, especially on their own turf, which is where the 84th found itself in late November 1944.
Paul was a member of B Company, Third Platoon, Second Squad.
On November 27, from a foxhole in Germany Paul wrote the following letter home to his brother Angelo.
On or about December 1st the Platoon was advancing on the village of Prummern when it surprised a German tank. The rifle squad was no match for German armor and the squad took its first casualty. After two weeks of hell, in as fierce combat as the 84th would experience, the loss of Paul rocked the squad to its core. An experience which would be repeated too many times.
While casualties from the war were a common newspaper headline by 1944, at the Ribera household the news was devastating.
WW-II Heroes would like to thank Shawn Hennessey and the Ribera Family for allowing us to share his story here. Like some many of our heroes who came home, they would never forget those who did not. Nor should we.
LINKS: 10th Mountain Division Web SiteReturn to Part II U.S. Medals