JERONIMO F. DOMINGUEZ
Patriot, Chapter 1919
Army, WWII, Europe
was born in
in 1913. He attended a Missionary
but early in his childhood years his family moved to Elgin.
Except for his service in WWII he has lived in
ever since. Jeronimo attended public schools but his education was
interrupted by periodic trips with his family for seasonal migrant farm work
and, (at least one year), they followed the harvest as far as
He had completed 8th grade when, in 1934 he left school for employment,
mostly as a farm hand where and whenever work was to be found locally near
home in Bastrop County. In 1940
he found year-round employment
with Rafael Castillo, farmer of
and assisted the owner in producing and marketing crops and livestock,
working the land with teams of horses. In September 1941, he and Petra
Cantu, a local girl were married. Three months later
entered the conflict in WWII,
and soon after that Jeronimo entered the service.
He was inducted into
the Army on June 4, 1942 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and sent to Camp Roberts,
for Basic Training. From there he was ordered to
Colorado for advanced
training following which he was stationed at several other training camps
before being shipped overseas. He had qualified in Artillery Basic and as a
Tank Destroyer Crewman when he sailed for
Europe on April 6, 1944.
was assigned to the 702nd Tank Destroyer Battalion (SP).
The 702nd was sent into France on July 11, 1944 and was attached to the 2nd
Armored Division, “Hell On Wheels,” part of General George Patton’s 3rd
Jeronimo served with them through the Normandy and
Northern France Campaigns. The battalion went into action equipped with the
self propelled M10 Tank Destroyer that mounted a 3” gun on a variant of the
M4 Sherman tank chassis.
Within a few months these were replaced with an
improved M36 “Jackson” Tank Destroyer. The M36 also used the M4 chassis but
it had better cross-country mobility and speed, and it mounted a far more
powerful 90mm gun that fired a newly developed high velocity armor piercing
shell that was capable of defeating all German armor in the field at the
time. More than 50 tank destroyer battalions served in the European Theatre
of Operations and they were variously equipped with any of several other
models in addition to the M10 and M36, but most G.I.’s referred to all the
various models simply as “tank destroyers,” or more commonly, as the “t.d.’s.”
PFC Dominguez was the “loader” in a five-man crew
of his M36 “t.d.” responsible for storing and maintaining the ammunition
and, upon orders, loading the 90mm gun and reporting the gun ready for
firing. He remained in that position for his entire time in the 702nd, but
he had had his chances for promotion. Jeronimo says,
the lieutenant wanted me
to take the gunner’s position, but I had to turn it down because my eyesight
was too slow (to risk taking responsibility for the
five man crew).”
was wounded March 30, 1945 when his unit was entering Germany and
his tank destroyer was hit and disabled when attacked by a German aircraft.
“The other crewmen jumped
out, I was hit but felt no pain. At first, I could not move, but was finally
able to use my left arm to get out. I hit the ground and passed out.
By the time I woke up, I was in a barn.”
He was treated in a field hospital where he was put into a
cast around his rib cage and his badly injured right arm. From there he was
transferred to another hospital that was also set up in tents in a field
location, and after a brief stay there was flown back across the channel to
and then transported to the 186th
Fairford, about an hour east of
London. He had a major
surgery there, his award of the Purple Heart was published by the 186th
General, and shortly after V-E Day, when the war in Europe had ended, his
doctors cleared him for medical evacuation by air to the United States.
He arrived at
on June 13, 1945 and was sent to a hospital in
where a second surgery was performed.
Shattered bones in his right
arm were repaired with bone taken from Dominguez’ left leg. Only then could
the long process of healing and rehabilitation begin. “I
will never forget the medics, doctors and nurses—they were my angels and
saved my life.
All during this time they
treated me like a baby. How great they were,”
he has said for years afterward. Finally, on
March 6, 1946 he was discharged from the
at Fort Sam Houston, Texas; and returned home to
and resumed family life.
Jeronimo soon found post-war employment with
O’Connor Furniture Store in Elgin
where he repaired and restored furniture and made deliveries in the local
area. Jeronimo and Petra Dominguez built a new house, near downtown, for
their growing family, sons Alfredo, Alonzo, and Leopoldo, and daughter
Sophie. The children remember their father’s patience with them, while never
punishing and never pushing; he provided his guidance as a role model.
Mother Petra instilled high standards of responsibility, ethics and morality
in her children, also teaching by example.
After twenty years with store owner Joseph O’Connor, Jeronimo left
that employment and then worked for the
School District for
another seven years. In May 1992, only months after celebrating their 50th
wedding anniversary, Jeronimo lost his wife
Petra. In retirement today,
he still maintains their home in Elgin.
However, most of the time he is nearby in the care
of the Elgin Rehabilitation and
while youngest son, Leo, looks after him and the home property—so now this
issue of PATRIOT
BULLETIN proudly salutes Chapter 1919’s “senior
Patriot,” Jeronimo Dominguez, as he celebrates his 97th Birthday this month.
Patriot Jeronimo F. Dominguez, an Army WWII veteran, died October 3, 2011.