Ditzhazy Sr., Joseph Andrew



Ditzhazy Sr., Joseph Andrew


Joseph Andrew Ditzhazy Sr.


William Vollano


Joseph is from Michigan and was in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), in the Upper Peninsula. He was drafted in August 1943, but the army let him finish high school before he entered the service. Joseph was sent to Fort Benning for training when he was around 20 years old. He had only 13 weeks of training before going to school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was there for several weeks of engineering training. Joseph failed on purpose, so that he would be able to join the army immediately, rather than after college training. He joined the 104th Howling Timberwolves at Camp Carson, in Colorado, for training until they went overseas. They trained at night and were known as “Night-Fighters.” Joseph only fought in one daylight battle while overseas. He landed in Normandy 3 months after D-Day (D-Day+90). The 104th moved through France and into Belgium. Three days later, they received orders to get ready to fight in Holland, where they fought to free the port of Antwerp. Next, the 104th crossed into Germany over the Roer/Rur River to Aachen, to assist the 1st division. Joseph was in a mortar battalion, and was a squad leader, although he was never formally recognized as such. Another squad leader didn’t like him and denied knowing him when asked. Joseph’s unit spent 195 days in constant combat with Germans. This combat took place from Holland down to Aachen, and until the war’s end. He only fought 120 of the days, because he was wounded. Shrapnel from a shell hit him, and he lay for eight hours, waiting for rescue. He was put on a train to Paris, and then to England. He woke up in a hospital in Oxford. He stayed there for three months while he recovered. He was finally sent back to the States, and he arrived in southern California, where he was discharged. After his discharge in 1946, he attended Michigan State University, and worked for GM and Chrysler, as a quality control manager. His unit, the 104th, has had a reunion every labor-day weekend since 1946.

Date Span

Dates of Service


Drafted; United States Army; A Company, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Vietnam; Sergeant


Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Collection Location


Spatial Coverage

Second World War - European Theater

Item sets