134th Infantry Regiment Website
"All Hell Can't Stop Us"
John Louis Cantoni
This picture was taken while he was recuperating in England,
probably in November 1944
John Louis Cantoni was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska where his father Louis was a successful restaurant owner and operator. John was a member of the National Guard, 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry 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 attended Creighton University for three years, where he majored in Business Administration.
John trained at Camp Robinson, Arkansas in January 1941 and was then 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. On July 6, 1944, he 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. On July 17, 1944 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. On December 31, 1944, John was sent back to his outfit because they requested that he return.
On January 4, 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 is interned at the Luxembourg American Cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg, and his name was inscribed upon the Memorial Park wall in Omaha, Nebraska.
Biography and photographs submitted by Mr. Joe Henning. John L. Cantoni was Mr. Henning's great-uncle.