Platoon Sergeant - A Company, 511th PIR - KIA
October 5, 1919 - April 27, 1945 (Age 24) - Gravesite - from Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio
Citations: Distinguished Service Cross, Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), Purple Heart
Pat Berardi (Service #: 35622047) was born in historic San Marino (Mangone, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy is also listed on some records) on October 5, 1919 to John and Sabatina Berardi. Pat was the Berardi's second child, his brother Anthony or "Tony" was about four years older. The family moved to the United States in 1927 when Pat was just eight years old. The young Italian then attended Emmanuel Elementary School then graduated from Roosevelt High School, at the time, the largest high school in the eastern United States.
Prior the outbreak of the war after Pearl Harbor, Pat registered for the Draft on October 16, 1940 in Dayton, Ohio (where he worked as a janitor with his father) then he finished high school and became "semiskilled" in the manufacturing of electrical machinery and accessories. I am not sure if Pat received a deferment due to his manufacturing job at Colonel Orin D. "Hard Rock" Haugen. I am still searching for records as to when Pat joined the 511th PIR, but the 5' 9" tall future paratrooper earned his "Silver Badge of Courage" at Fort Benning, Georgia. I do know that Pat joined the 511th PIR's A Company under Captain Thomas W. Brady sometime before the regiment began their Leyte Campaign in late November of 1944. For a full treatise of what Pat and the 511th PIR went through during the bloody and brutal Leyte campaign, please consider purchasing a copy of the book WHEN ANGEL'S FALL: FROM TOCCOA TO TOKYO, THE 511TH PARACHUTE INFANTRY REGIMENT IN WORLD WAR II, available in the regimental online store, on Amazon or wherever military history books are sold.
It is of note that Pat's A Company lost their company commander, CPT Thomas W. Brady of Whitestone, NY while on Leyte, a loss that was felt by all in the company, and across 1st Battalion. After being shot in the head, the 511th's surgeons performed a successful operation on his brain in a very basic "field hospital". The twenty-nine-year-old company commander lay unresponsive for days, but when ice cream was dropped on the "hospital" on Manawarat, those around Brady were astonished to see him smile at the announcement. The young captain was later flown by pilot Sid Lanier to Dulag for more treatment where he was fully expected to recover. Sadly, the well-respected Angel passed away on December 2 (D+14).
The 511th PIR completed operations on Leyte on Christmas Day 1944 and Pat and the surviving Angels were then given about a month to rest and recuperate from their ordeals before dropping on Tagaytay Ridge south of Manila on February 3, 1945. A Company then took part in the historic Battle for Manila, including the taking of Nichols Field, Fort McKinley and more.
During the 11th Airborne Division's campaign in April to capture the Malepunyo mountain rage south of Manila on Luzon near Sulac, SGT Berardi was dug in with A Company of the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment on the shell hole-covered Hill 2380 on the evening of April 27, 1945. A Company was to contact Task Force Ciceri which was making its way west towards Hill 2380. Named for the 511th PIR’s Major John Ciceri, TF Ciceri consisted of C-511, Troop F of 6th Calvary, and Battery D of the 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battery. As Major Ciceri’s force pressed west, SGT Berardi's A-511 had driven straight north up the center of the chain of hills towards Hill 2380.
Around sundown, A Company sent a thirteen-man patrol to contact TF Ciceri which soon encountered a well dug in enemy on Matasna Bundoc and found themselves in serious trouble. SGT Pat Berardi quickly left the hilltop and raced down to the patrol’s aid, but a few minutes later Berardi was wounded, and his two companions killed. Pat, in turn, eliminated the Japanese snipers before making his way to the stranded patrol. Assuming command, the young Italian-American directed the unit’s withdrawal, taking care that the wounded were evacuated first.
The injured sergeant then collapsed from exhaustion and blood loss and A Company’s patrol carried their brave comrade up Hill 2380 where he died despite the medic’s best efforts to save him (an Ileostomy was performed).
For his sacrifice and leadership under fire, the twenty-four-year-old SGT Berardi, the Roman Catholic, was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Pat's Distinguished Service Cross citation:
Headquarters, U.S. Forces-Pacific, General Orders No. 72 (1945)
Sergeant Pat Berardi (ASN: 35622047), United States Army, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in action against enemy forces on 27 April 1945. Sergeant Berardi's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty at the cost of his life, exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
The medical that received Pat's body noted, "Diagnosis: Wound(s), perforating (points of entrance and exit) with no nerve or artery involvement; Location: Abdomen, abdominal wall and pelvis: Abdominothoracic region; Causative Agent: Bullet."
While Pat's mortal remains were initial interred at the United States Armed Forces Cemetery # 1 on Luzon, a second anniversary mass with full military honors was held in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio at the Emmanuel Church on April 25, 1947 with Father Albert J. Kroum conducting.
In October of 1948, Pat's body was brought home where services were at his parents' home on October 17 beginning at 8am with further services held at 9am at the Emmanuel Church. He was survived by his parents John and Sabatina, his two sisters Theresa and Julia, and his two brothers Anthony and Ralph. His final resting place is at the Calvary Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.
To learn more about the 11th Airborne Division in World War II, please consider purchasing a copy of our books on the Angels:
2. DOWN FROM HEAVEN: THE HISTORY OF THE 11TH AIRBORNE DIVISION IN WORLD WAR II - VOL 1. CAMP TOCCOA THROUGH LEYTE CAMPAIGN, available in the regimental online store, on Amazon or wherever military history books are sold.