Mike Baranek presented Distinguished Service Cross in Italy by Lt. Gen. Mark Clark on 11 May 1944
NAME: Mike Baranek
PLACE OF BIRTH: ?, PA
DATE OF BIRTH: 1915?
DATES OF SERVICE: 11 Jul 1941 -
UNIT ASSIGNED: A Co 504th Parachute Battalion
D Co 2nd Battalion 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment
D Co 2nd Battalion 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment
A CO 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion
CAMPAIGNS: Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rome-Arno
AWARDS: Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge with three combat jump stars , Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, EAME Campaign Medal with arrowhead device and four bronze star devices, World War II Victory Medal, 3rd Zouaves Regiment Badge, four overseas service bars
SUMMARY OF SERVICE:
11 Jul 1941 - Enlisted at Cleveland, OH - NARA Enlistment Record
|ARMY SERIAL NUMBER||35026946||35026946|
|PLACE OF ENLISTMENT||5323||CLEVELAND OHIO|
|DATE OF ENLISTMENT DAY||11||11|
|DATE OF ENLISTMENT MONTH||07||07|
|DATE OF ENLISTMENT YEAR||41||41|
|GRADE: ALPHA DESIGNATION||PVT#||Private|
|BRANCH: ALPHA DESIGNATION||BI#||Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA|
|BRANCH: CODE||00||Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA|
|FIELD USE AS DESIRED||#||#|
|TERM OF ENLISTMENT||0||Undefined Code|
|SOURCE OF ARMY PERSONNEL||0||Civil Life|
|YEAR OF BIRTH||15||15|
|RACE AND CITIZENSHIP||1||White, citizen|
|EDUCATION||3||3 years of high school|
|CIVILIAN OCCUPATION||284||Janitors and sextons|
|MARITAL STATUS||6||Single, without dependents|
|COMPONENT OF THE ARMY||7||Selectees (Enlisted Men)|
|FILM REEL NUMBER||3.306||3.306|
00 Feb 1942 - Cpl. Michael Baranek 35026946 A Co. 504th PB Akron, OH
08 Nov 1942 - Sgt. Michael Baranek 35026946 D Co 2nd Bn 509th PIR Akron, OH, participated in Operation VILLAN, Plane: 4 Seat: 2 Combat Weight: 249 lbs.
11 Nov 1943 - Action which would later be recognized by award of the DSC
11 Nov 1943 - Wounded in Action, Venafro, Italy
11 Jan 1944 - Sgt. Mike Baranek 35026946 A CO 509th PIB SO 4 Removed from Jump Status
00 Mar 1944 - Wounded in Action, Anzio, Italy
25 Mar 1944 - Sgt. Mike Baranek GO 49 HQ Fifth Army Award of Distinguished Service Cross DSC listed on page 383 in the book Stand in the Door by Charles H. Doyle and Terrell Stewart
Distinguished Service Cross
General Orders: Headquarters, Fifth U.S. Army, General Orders No. 49 (1944) (Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Sergeant Mike Baranek, United States Army, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy, in action against enemy forces on 11 November 1943. Sergeant Baranek's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty 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.
25 Mar 1944 - HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY, A.P.O. #464, U.S. Army, GENERAL ORDERS NUMBER 49, Section I, Awards of Distinguished Service Cross
Under the provisions of Army Regulations 600-45, as amended, Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to the following named enlisted men:
MIKE (NMI) BARANEK, (35026946), Sergeant, Infantry, United States Army. For extraordinary heroism in action, on 11 November 1943, near Venafro, Italy. During an assault against a heavily fortified position on Mt. Croce, Sergeant BARANEK, a communications sergeant, volunteered to accompany an officer and another enlisted man in the perilous task of clearing enemy land mines and booby traps from the route of advance. This dangerous mission was accomplished successfully in the face of heavy small arms and artillery fire. Advancing to the top of Mt. Croce, Sergeant BRANEK and his two companions encountered an enemy machine gun threatening the leading element and delaying the advance. Under heavy fire from snipers, machine guns, and artillery the three men assaulted the position, killed the crew and destroyed the weapon. Observing a second machine gun firing nearby, Sergeant BARANEK and his companions made a second assault, and without the officer who became a casualty, Sergeant BARANEK and the other enlisted man captured or killed the gun crew and protecting riflemen. Sergeant BARANEK then set up the captured weapon and placed itin action against the enemy. Sergeant BARANEK'S coolness and disregard for enemy fire prevented many casualties among the members of his company, and his heroic performance exemplifies the finest traditions of the Armed Forces. Entered military service from Akron, Ohio.
Sgt Mike Baraneks Dog Tag was found in April 2012 buried in a families back yard southeast of Rome, Italy. The family has kindly offered to return the dog tag to the Baranek family
Click Here for Akron Beacon Journal article about return of the dog tag
Click Here for Stars and Stripes article with the same story
Olga Romagnolo contacted the 509th PIA by e-mail on 15 Apr 2012. She lives in Rome, Italy (In the suburbs about 5 miles southeast of downtown Rome) Olga and her boyfriend Simone found the dog tag of Mike Baranek in their garden. They did an internet search and found Mike Baraneks name listed on the 509th PIA website. Olga e-mailed the 509th PIA with much excitement having learned that he had been wounded for a second time during the war near Anzio, Italy and was a Distinguished Service Cross recipient. She offered to send the dog tag to the 509th Parachute Infantry Association or to the family if they could be located. The 509th PIA had been in contact with Jim Leone a friend of the family who was able to provide contact info so that Olga could be put in contact directly.
Mike Baranek with the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, came ashore at Anzio on 22 January 1944 in the first wave of amphibious forces in Operation SHINGLE. By 31 January 1944 the 509th PIB had pushed inland to the north about 12 miles to Carano, Italy and established a defensive perimeter. Several counterattacks occurred along the line. The 509th PIB saw some of its toughest fighting at Carano and the unit was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions. In March 1944 Mike Baranek was wounded in action but stayed with the unit. In April the 509th PIB was pulled off the line and sent to Naples, Italy for Rest and Recreation. In June following the liberation of Rome, the 509th PIB was moved to Lido de Roma (On the beach west of Rome) to continue rest, refitting and training replacements to rebuild their combat strength. During June and July the 509th PIB had a liberal pass policy for the combat experienced troopers and frequently explored Rome. I believe it was during this time that Mike Baranek lost his dog tag.
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