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Honoring Their Sacrifice

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Carrico, Joseph Robert (P2, C1, L18)

Carrico RobertTechnician Fifth Class Joseph Robert Carrico, 21, of Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky, was killed in a friendly fire incident on 14 September 1943 while serving in Italy with the 106th Anti-Aircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion. Carrico joined C Battery of the Coast Artillery as a Private in December 1940. He listed his civilian occupation as farmer. John E. Parrott of Washington County was also killed in the same incident. According to a contemporary news report of their deaths they saw combat in North Africa and participated in the Salerno landing in Italy. Carrico is buried in the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery.

The Springfield Sun of 14 October 1943, made the announcement of the deaths of two local soldiers, Joseph R. Carrico and John E. Parrott: Two Washington County boys were killed in action in Italy Sep. 14, 1943, according to messages from the War Department to their parents here. Mr. and Mrs. John F. Parrott received word of the death of their son, John E. Parrott, and Mr. and Mrs. Rue Carrico received a similar message announcing the death of their son, T/Sgt Joseph R. Carrico. According to a report to The Sun, both boys were killed in the same explosion of bullets, which was witnessed by some of their Springfield comrades in arms. Both boys were members of the old National Guard Troop in this City.

      Two From This County Died In Action in Italy

      Washington Countians Made Supreme
      Sacrifice For Their Country on
      September 14,1943;
      Message Relates Sad News
      Services Will Be Held

      The Springfield Sun, 14 October 1945, p. 1.

      The Washington County boys were killed in action in Italy Tuesday, September 14, 1943, according to messages from the war department to their parents here. Full details not revealed.

      Mr. and Mrs. John F. Parrott received a telegram Wednesday morning from the War Department advising them of the death of their son, Sgt. John E .Parrott, and Mr. and Mrs. Rue Carrico received a similar message this morning announcing the death of their son T. Cpl. Joseph R. Carrico.

      According to reports reaching The Sun, though unverified, both these boys were killed by the same explosion or fusillade of bullets, their fatal wounding being witnessed by some of their Springfield comrades in arms.

      Both boys were members of the. old National Guard Troop in this city and went with the troop to Camp Huelin, Texas, for training; were inducted into the U. S. Army, went to North Ireland as a group, were with the forces invading North Africa, participated in the successful Sicilian invasion, and landed with the Allied forces on the Italian invasion, in which they met death.

      Besides his parents, Sgt. Parrott is survived by two brothers, Abell and Robert Lee Parrott, and three sisters, Mrs. Arthur Rogers and Misses Sarah and Nancy Parrott.

      Requiem Mass and memorial services for Sgt. Parrott will be held at 9 o'clock Tuesday morning, October 19, at St. Dominic Church in this city, the Rev. Fr. Joseph E. McPherson officiating.

      T. Cpl. Carrico is survived by his parents, one brother, Paul Carrico, and four sisters, Misses Beulah, Margaret Ann. Mary Alice and Catherine Carrico.

      Solemn Requiem Mass for Cpl. Carrico will be held at St. Rose at 9 o'clock Monday morning, October 18, the Rev. Fr. H. J. McManus, Prior at St. Rose officiating.

      Carrico died in Italy Sept. 14, 1943

      The Springfield Sun

      Editor's note: What follows is a story about a Washington County serviceman who was killed 50 years ago this week during World War II  The Sun is featuring a series of stories about all the county's WWII casualties, that will be published on the anniversaries of their deaths. Carrico's story was written by Tom Duncan Reed.

      Joseph R. Carrico was born in a small rural community in Washington County near his parish church of St. Rose. He was the first of six children born to Joseph R. and Alice Montgomery Carrico on Sept. 18,1921. His brothers and sisters include Mary Alice Carrico. Beulah Smith, Catharine Hill, Margaret Ann Tingle and Paul Carrico. He grew up on the farm and attended Badget Public School for his early schooling.

      In the fall of 1940 he enlisted in the Kentucky National Guards, joining Battery C, 106th Coast Artillery (A.A.A.) Battalion based in Springfield. It was just a few days later the Battery was inducted into federal service.

      On Sept. 9. 1943. Battery C made its third amphibious invasion at Salerno, Italy. The enemy resistance at the early stages of the landing were not too great but day by day it stiffened.

      Sept. 14, 1943 was a fairly warm and clear day, especially for our aircraft to attack the enemy. That day friendly P-40 fighters attacked German targets just beyond the battery's' position.

      One P-40 dove for a German target, released its bomb load and strafed the targets. It came out of its dive right over our gun position. As the P-40 approached our position I thought it was on fire, because smoke was tailing its wings. But this observation was wrong. The smoke I saw was from its guns firing.

      In a split two seconds 50 caliber bullets hit our half-tract where T-5 Joseph R. Carrico was seated in the ready-seat and was struck by the 50 caliber bullets from the P-40. Along my side was our gun Sergeant John E. Parrott who also had been mortally wounded by this aircrafts' fire. Also, Henry Spence of Mt. Sterling, suffered fatal wounds.

      As I recovered and got to my feet. I observed the planes fire power bad also ignited some of the ammunition on our half tract. Grabbing the only fire extinguisher with our ack - ack gun, I ran to the rear  where there is an opening on the armor and which contains the two firing seats. Slumped over in the  ready-seat and wounded by the P-40 fire was T-5 Joseph R. Carrico. One other of our gun crew helped  me to lower him to the ground, where I thought I detected a slight pulse. It was less than five minutes  before a medics crew was with our gun crew. While Sgt. Parrott was being placed on a weapons-carrier (an open truck about the size of a pickup truck) the medic was caring for T-5 Carrico, but reported his wounds were fatal. His body was transported to the rear along with that of Sgt. Parrott and Spence.

      It was learned later by our commanding officer that the plane that strafed our gun section had been hit by enemy fire. The P-40's guns were out of control. The remains of Joseph R. Carrico were laid to rest in the Military Cemetery at Salerno, Italy, where they rest to this very day. John R., as we all knew him, was a dedicated soldier, a sincere religious person, and a wonderful son and brother.

      Parrott Killed in Salerno 50 Years ago

      The Springfield Sun Wednesday, September 15, 1993

      By COL (R) Arthur Kelly

      John Edward Parrott, better known as John E., was born May 25, 1920. He was one of six children born to John F. and Bernice Abell Parrott His brothers and sisters included Abel, . Lee, Nancy, Sarah and Mrs. Arthur Rogers.

      He attended grade school at McGill and graduated from Springfield High School in 1938. During his school years, he helped with the many chores on the family farm.

      After high school, John E. joined the National Guard unit in Springfield and took his basic training. Little did he realize he would soon be called to serve his country on active duty.

      He left Springfield for Camp Hulen, Texas, with Battery C, 106th An-ti-aircraft Battalion on Jan. 13, 1941. John E. first experienced the horrors of combat in North Africa. Shortly after the Allied invasion of North Africa on Nov. 8, 1942, at a place they named "Stuka Valley", John E. and the men of Battery C took a terrible pounding from the air. Every day for two weeks, they fired their guns at the attacking German Stuka bombers, while whistling bombs rained down and exploded in their midst.

      By Sept. 9, 1943, after he had landed at Salerno, Italy, John E. had earned four battle stars and participated in three amphibious invasions. Five days after the troops first came ashore, John E. was not aware of the serious nature of the tactical situation triggered by ferocious German counterattacks, nor was he paying much attention to the battle noises going on around him. Instead he and others in the gun section, not on watch, were concentrating on their card game of tonk. The card players sat or kneeled on the ground around an army five-gallon gas can. that served as a make-shift table. Only five steps to the right of their gun, mounted on the half-track that faced to the north, they were ready to man their gun in seconds if necessary.

      Suddenly, out of the north, an airplane zoomed in toward their position. From the ready seat on the gun, Carrico shouted, "It's ours." The players relaxed, but in a flash, they heard the plane's machine guns firing above its roaring engine, saw smoke puffs spurting out of and trailing the plane's wings and watched two tracks of bullets strike the ground and streak toward them. Desperately, Sammie Burns dived behind the gun, and John E. and Henry Spence sprinted away, side by side, from their gun at a
      right angle to the bullet tracks approaching the gun position. burst from the machine gun on the plane's left wing cut both John E. and Spence down at the same Lime. \

      In an instant, John E. Parrott's close friend, Dick Kelly, cradled him in his arms. John E. spoke his last words to Dick in a casual manner. He said, "So long, I'll be seeing you." And then Dick watched his friend's eyes assume a fixed stare. ' In minutes, the three men killed in action were evacuated from the area, and their friends in the gun section' never saw them again.

      John E. Parrott's peers in Battery C said he was handsome, well-groomed and always pleasant to everyone. He had dark hair and wore a broad smile. All who knew him liked him. His men in the gun section admired and respected him. He was only 23 years old when he made the supreme sacrifice. John E. died in Italy on Sept. 14, 1943. His body was returned after the war. He is buried in St. Dominic Cemetery beside his mother and father.

     

 

The Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund, Inc., is a recognized 501(c)(3). EIN 26-3705273
 

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