|Birth: ||Jun. 2, 1923|
|Death: ||Nov. 27, 1943, At Sea|
PFC LAWRENCE J GATTO US ARMY KIA NOV 27 1943
US Army Air Corps WORLD WAR II
Passenger Pfc. Ludovico J. Gatto MIA/KIA
322nd Fighter Control Squadron
Ship: HMT Rohna
Service # 11114748
Awards: Purple Heart
Mission: Troop Transport Convoy KMF-26
Loss Date: November 26, 1943
Location: Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Algeria.
Cause: German guided missile
Crew: On Board 2000 · Saved 606 · Lost 1138
This was the first successful "hit" of a merchant vessel at sea carrying US troops by a German remote-controlled, rocket-boosted bomb, thus giving birth to the "Missile Age", and it resulted in the greatest loss of troops (1,015) at sea in U.S. history. Combined with the loss of ship's crew and officers, and three Red Cross workers, more lives were lost than on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor.
The "hit" was so devastating that the U.S. Government placed a veil of secrecy upon it. The events which followed were so shameful that the secrecy continued for decades until recently (1967), when documents were grudgingly released under pressure of the Freedom of Information Act. The government still does not acknowledge this tragedy, thus most families of the casualties still do not know the fate of their loved ones. In 1995, over fifty years later, a group of survivors, next-of-kin and rescuers, came together for the sole purpose of enabling the creation and dedication of a Rohna Memorial.
On November 26, 1943 nearly two thousand American soldiers faced the most traumatic experience of their young lives. They woke up that morning aboard a vessel that some described as unfit for human habitation. Just a bunch of kids, mostly only a year or so out of high school. Exhibiting the expected Yankee cockiness, they were ready to take on anything the war had to offer. Having survived a Thanksgiving Day dinner the day before, things just had to get better. The sad part of it was, this would be the last Thanksgiving for over half of them!
The minesweeper USS Pioneer rescued 606 survivors of the sinking.
Pfc. Gatto appears Tablets of the Missing North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial Carthage Tunis, Tunisia. HIs memorial Veterans Cemetery Somerville Massachusetts, is a cenotaph, his body was never recovered.
Visit the virtual cemetery of the " HMT Rohna Crew
Maintained by: John Dowdy
Originally Created by: Scrappy
Record added: Aug 14, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 115482506
NARA records list this soldiers Home of Record as Middlesex County, Massachusetts...Killed In Action...Your service and sacrifice must never be forgotten.|
Added: Sep. 10, 2016
PFC LAWRENCE J GATTO US ARMY KIA NOV 27 1943 WORLD WAR II|
Added: Aug. 14, 2013