The story of Private Dombrowski's exploits appeared in the Lorain Journal on July 8, 1942 – 72 years ago today. It was submitted by Corporal F. Carter on behalf of his squad, the Landing Combat Team, Company H, 7th Infantry.
Corporal Carter's letter to the Journal is eloquent in its simplicity. It embodies the warm camaraderie shared by soldiers called upon by their country to do a difficult job.
Here's the text of the article. I think you'll agree it's a wonderful piece.
Story of Lorain Soldier's Heroism Told in Note From Corporal of Landing Force
A story of the heroism of a Lorain soldier came to The Journal today, not thru the routine channels of the War Department or regular news dispatches, but from the corporal of his squad – Landing Combat Team, Company H, 7th Infantry – in a letter from Fort Ord, Calif.
Dignified by the significance of its message and the unconscious use of striking free verse, the letter follows:
The rest of the boys and I would like to put a few lines in your paper about a soldier from your town, Lorain, O.
He is a gunner in a 30-calibre machine gun squad. His name is Chester W. Dombrowski, private first class, and his home address is 812 W. 18th-st.
He is with us in the Landing Combat Team – that's the LCT. We land troops all over the world. Maybe his friends and all who know him would like to know of his wonderful bravery in the last two troop landings we made – and that we are proud of him.
At the "isles," the name of which I won't mention, we in the first section owed our lives to him, for he saved us where many others had been lost.
He opened a field of fire with his "typewriter" – meaning his machine gun – and kept up a stream of bullets, opening a gap for us to go thru – to reach our landing boats. And he held the enemy at bay 'til we made our way to the troop transport far off at sea.
This SOLDIER stayed and held his ground in a steady field of fire. Splinters and logs and whatnot were falling on him and around him, but he kept the enemy in their place.
We thought he and his squad were "goners" but later we learned differently, for they, too, came aboard ship, tho they all looked a sight.
Most of us came back to the States to take more troops to other parts of the world. And the boys and I hope we have this Dombrowski with us, too. (Signed) Corp. F. Carter and The Squad.
****I checked the Lorain City Directories on two different occasions to see if Chester Dombrowski made it through the war and came back to Lorain.
It's kind of hard to tell. The information in the city directories is confusing.
There were families listed in the city directories with the name Dombrowski as well as Dombroski living on W. 18th Street in almost the same block. And – surprisingly – both families appeared to have at least one person named Chester. At this point, I think that our man Chester was actually Chester Dombroski, since that is the name briefly associated with the 812 W. 18th address. Or was it a typo?
So until I do some more research (which I will post here eventually), I don't know if the Chester Dombrowski in the article was killed in the war, or survived to come back to Lorain or somewhere else. But I do know after reading Corp. Carter's letter that his family must have been awfully proud of him.