Skip to comments.A surprise return of precious metal (Italian sends Texan's lost tags home 6 decades later)
Posted on 05/31/2010 3:09:17 PM PDT by JoeProBono
Last month, Steve Glomb got a message on his answering machine at his Buda home. The caller spoke in a thick Italian accent, but Glomb could make out the words "metal detector ... dog tags ... Oscar Glomb."
The message, he would learn, held the answer to a 66-year-old family mystery.
His father, Oscar F. Glomb, had served with the 36th Infantry Division which today is a Camp Mabry-based Texas National Guard unit and landed at the Bay of Salerno in 1943. In June 1944, in a battle near Gavorrano, Italy, shrapnel from an artillery shell tore through Oscar Glomb's neck, pierced his arms and legs, and left him close to death.
"He said he heard people say, 'Don't worry about that guy; he's gone,' " Steve Glomb said.
But another Texas soldier refused to give up on him and insisted that Oscar Glomb be carried off the hill. At some point during that bloody June day, the dog tags that the young Texan wore around his neck fell to the forest floor. Glomb eventually recovered from his wounds, returned to Shiner, got married and fathered four children.
But Steve Glomb, a senior commercial underwriter for Farmers Insurance Group, said his father never forgot about his missing dog tags.
"You just don't separate a soldier from his dog tag," said Steve Glomb, 60. "He always talked about them. He'd say, 'I need to go back and find those dog tags.' "
Soldiers are traditionally issued two dog tags bearing information such as their name and home address. When they are killed on the battlefield, one tag is usually taken for notification, while the second remains with the body.
After he was wounded, Oscar Glomb was evacuated from the European theater and sent to a military hospital in Longview. That's where he met Dorothy Owens. She worked at the hospital, passing out newspapers and cigarettes to wounded soldiers to lift their spirits. They fell in love while Glomb recuperated, then married and moved to his native Shiner, where they raised two girls and two boys.
Glomb worked as an appliance repairman, television antenna installer and part-time rural mail carrier he finally got the job full-time when he was 69, Steve Glomb said.
"He lived a great life," Steve Glomb said. "He never had any wants. They were the epitome of the greatest generation in my mind."
Steve Glomb heard his father's stories about Italy, about how he was wounded and earned a Bronze Star.
"Dad was just a plain old farm boy, plucked off the farm and stuck in the middle of the war," he said.
A few days before he was wounded, Oscar Glomb, who manned a Browning automatic rifle, killed 12 German soldiers and wounded several others, according to the U.S. military.
His actions protected his fellow soldiers and helped his platoon advance........"
Oscar Glomb, shown before going overseas to fight in World War II, was wounded in Italy, where he lost his dog tags and other personal items, and sent home to Texas to recover
Praise for the Italian gentleman who made the find then tracked down the family.
Amazingly cool story..thanks!
Awesome story on this Memorial Day. God bless America’s
Greatest Generation and all those that came before and after.
Names On The Wall:
Memorial Tribute 2002:
It’s amazing how much stuff gets left lying around after war.
A forest was cut down and bulldozed for a development of townhouses across the street from my old office in Fairfax, VA. It was part of the battleground of the Battle of Ox Hill/Chantilly. I found a fired minie ball that had struck something soft, fallen to the ground and looked like it got stepped on. Looking up the battle maps, my friend and I were able to make a pretty good educated guess what northern regiment fired it at which southern unit. A guy with a metal detector came out, and was finding little piles of unfired bullets all clustered together. We figured it was probably where someone took a hit and went down and stuff fell out of their pouches. It was pretty easy to trace where things were happening by locating little finds like that.
Find of the day was a cap regimental(?) number insignia fragment by the metal detector guy.
What a terrific Memorial Day post. Does my heart good to know that some Europeans still appreciate and honor the efforts and sacrifices of our American heroes.
Something similar happened to my husband last year. He’s a Korean vet. He got a phone call from a town in Ohio where he had never been. It was a teacher who had a 5th grade student who had found a dog tag with my husband’s name on it. The teacher happened to know our daughter in law who is a teacher in a different school, so the man called her to ask if anyone in her family had that name. She said yes, her FIL. So the man called and hubby recited the number that should be on it if it was his. It was his. Strange thing is, we never knew it was missing, and nobody in our family had ever been in that area of Ohio, much less in a rural rural gully where the boy found it. It’s still a mystery, but the tag was returned to my husband.
I was part of the North-South Skirmishers back in the 1960s. We ran into one guy with a detector who told us the same story - along a trench line he'd find those little mounds of unfired bullets, usually no more than five or six. None of us could make any sense.
Then in July 1961 we did the first re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg and our postion was up near the High Water Mark. During the hottest part of Pickett's Charge we were firing as fast as we could. In our excitement we pulled out a handful of cartridges and laid them alongside us. At that moment me and my buddy looked at each other and had an "O Sh!t" moment. I'll bet the same thing happened at your place so long ago.
What a wonderful story! I sure hope, though, that he got the chance to talk to a priest before he died, and make a good Confession, so that his mind would have been put to rest about the young men he killed in the war. Sounds like he needed to be reassured that he would be forgiven. All he had to do was ask that of God, and in Confession, it would have meant more to Oscar, not to God.
Am I wrong?
Much of the battle took place in a lightning storm with a ferocious downpour. The moment these guys would take out a paper cartridge and bite it open, it'd have been filled with water. The engagement turned into one of medieval hand to hand savagery. I've read that the participants had more fear of the weather than of the enemy.
Before our office moved away from that building, we experienced just such a violent storm. We had offices where the rain was being driven in around the seals in the windows; you could hardly see across the street. Frequent and very local lightning strikes.
I wouldn't have wanted to be standing outside holding a rifled musket- even with the war long over.
Am I wrong?
No- you're quite correct. Not everywhere where a battle took place is a designated historic site though- far from it.
The Ox Hill site was offered to the NPS, but they weren't interested. By the time I ended up pawing around out there, they were building townhouses on it. The construction people saw us walking around out there and plainly didn't care. There is a tiny park across the street which is the sum total of what is protected there and of course, we left that alone. Where we were is all paved over now, with buildings and parking lots on it.
Probably not - especially nowadays. This event took place in 1961 in the Wilderness area where I believe some private lumber companies owned the land and allowed public access for camping, etc. Metal detectors then were such an unknown that there was no thought of banning them anywhere.
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