134th Infantry Regiment
"All Hell Can't Stop Us"
John Louis Cantoni 1944
This picture was taken while he was recuperating in England,
probably dated in November, 1944
John Louis Cantoni was born and raised in Omaha, and his father, Louis, was a successful restaurant owner and
operator in Omaha. John was a member of the National Guard 134th Infantry, 35th Division, Company L. All of the neighborhood boys were part of the National Guard; they met one weekend out of every month and were paid a stipend of
$15. In fact, John never graduated from college because he began full-time training with the National Guard in 1940. He had attened Creighton University, where he majored in Business Administration, for three years.
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, John was at Camp Robinson, Arkansas, training with the National Guard. He was immediately sent to Fort Lewis, Washington, and later to Catalina Island to help guard against a possible Japanese invasion. Since the National Guard was the nucleus for training draftees, John traveled around the United States conditioning men for the war after his training. On May 7, 1944, John relocated to England and entered World War II as a first sergeant.
On June 9, 1944, the third day after D-Day, John landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy. His division made their way to Saint-Lo, the location of the planned American breakout, and heavy fighting ensued. John was wounded by five machine gun plugs which lodged in one of his lungs. He was sent back to England and received a Purple Heart for being wounded in battle. In December, 1944, John was sent back to his outfit because they requested that he return.
On January 9, 1945, John was killed by a direct hit to the foxhole where he was stationed while defending Bastogne. News of his death was telegrammed to Omaha, and his death left a young wife, parents, and two sisters to mourn him.
By the end of his military career, John had been promoted to the rank of second lieutenant, field commission. He did not have a chance to receive his bars before his death, so he was buried as a technical sergeant. John was interned in the U. S. Military Cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg, and his name was inscribed upon the Memorial Park wall in Omaha.
Biography and photographs submitted by Mr. Joe Henning. John L. Cantoni was Mr. Henning's great-uncle.
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