My Father's "Scrapbook" – John A. (Jac) Citera, son of former T/Sgt. John A. Citera
I'd known about this Scrapbook since I was very
young. I'd seen it as a child but the contents were not discussed. Right up until my Father's passing in 1979, he never discussed the war or his experiences. I knew a couple stories including one where he and others rescued some other fellows but was never
told any of the details. I can understand modesty when one rescues another but the significance of the Soldier's Medal he received was not explained. Four years or so of his life was tied directly to the 85th and I'm sure that time critically influenced the
rest of his life. He enlisted having recently married, leaving an Accounting job with Electric Bond & Share. I knew that the Army wanted him to re-enlist to do intelligence when the Korean War broke out but didn't know his MOS was "intelligence".
Dad was an important adult member of our Scout Troop and received many tributes and awards for service from the local BSA council. He was very proud to have been "tapped" for membership in the Order of the Arrow.
I was proud to be part of the ceremonial team that first inducted him into this society of Honor Campers associated with the Boy Scouts. He attained their highest rank, the Vigil Honor.
I can't be
sure whether the Scrapbook was personal or part of an official project for record keeping. The Scrapbook faded from memory until my Mom's passing in 2003. Having come across the Scrapbook again at that time and then finding the web site set up for the 85th
Heavy Ponton Battalion in 2008, I felt it would be proper to share the contents. It is after all a small part of the history of WWII which belongs to the members and the families of the members of the 85th.
There aren't any photos of North Africa in this Scrapbook. Except for some local paper money and the Silver Certificate captioned "Landed in Africa – 21 Jun 1943" found on page 3, there isn't much. I did have a knife that was fashioned by an
"arab" out of a metal file but I can't find it. There was a story my Mom told about how she received a pair of glasses from my Dad that "..had been scratched in a sand storm in Africa." He asked to have them fixed or replaced and when she brought them to the
Optometrist, he told her they looked more like he was in an explosion from a land mine. My Mom, like so many other wives, was already living daily with worry over loved ones overseas; now she gets this bit of news. I never did find out whether it was a sand
storm or an explosion.
I'll make some comments relative to the pages contained in the scrapbook based on what I do know.
Jac's comments in the Citera Scrapbook subpages)