Military Order of the Purple Heart

Texas Capital Chapter 1919 Austin, Texas

 

JERONIMO DOMINGUEZ

 

1913 -- 2011

 


PATCH COMMON FOR ALL

TANK DESTROYER TROOPS


JERONIMO F. DOMINGUEZ

Patriot, Chapter 1919

 Army, WWII, Europe


J
eronimo Dominguez was born in Yancey, Texas (Medina County) in 1913. He attended a Missionary School in Medina County but early in his childhood years his family moved to Elgin. Except for his service in WWII he has lived in Elgin 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 North Dakota. 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 Elgin, Texas, 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 America 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, California for Basic Training. From there he was ordered to Camp Carson at Colorado Springs, 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.

 

Jeronimo Dominguez 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 Army.  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).”

 

He 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.  Jeronimo says, “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 Southampton, England, and then transported to the 186th General Hospital at 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 New York on June 13, 1945 and was sent to a hospital in Oklahoma 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 Separation Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas; and returned home to Elgin 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 Elgin Independent 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 Retirement Center, 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.

 


BRITISH VERSION OF THE
M36 TANK DESTROYER

M36 TANK DESTROYER OF THE 702nd TANK DESTROYER BN(SP) POSITIONED ON AN INCLINED EARTH RAMP TO ELEVATE THE GUN FOR FIRING AS ARTILLERY

ARMY SIGNAL CORPS PHOTO, 16 DECEMBER 1944 ON THE ROER RIVER, BELGIUM

Tank Destroyer Battalion

Interesting Poster

Tank Destroyer Battalion

Interesting Poster

Jeronimo Dominguez
In the Lead Limo
Veterans' Day Parade
November 2009

Jeronimo Dominguez
With His Son Leopoldo
Veterans' Day Parade
November 2009

Jeronimo Dominguez
Chapter 1919's senior Patriot
With Chapter 1919's Youngest Patriot

MOPH Christmas Party December 2009

Jeronimo Dominguez With His Son Alfredo
Relating His War Experience
While Watching His Computer Tribute

MOPH Christmas Party December 2009


TOP PHOTO

 

PFC DOMINGUEZ

1944


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