On this Memorial Day I received a very important email.
Joseph "Joe" Bonzek, a Polish Americanhas been looking for his Mexican American friend Jesus M. Gallardo's family.
Corporal Jesus M. Gallardo and Joseph "Joe" Bonzek were good buddies, they both served in WWII. Corporal Jesus M. Gallardo died nearly 65 years ago.Mr. Bonzek and his family have been trying to find Gallardo's family. Mr. Bonzek wants to send his family a photo of his buddy. The aging photograph shows a young man in military garb. Standing before a field of tents in southern France, the soldier tucks his left hand into his pants pocket and smiles into the camera, not knowing that it was probably one of the last images taken of him.
Corporal Jesus M. Gallardo of San Antonio, Texas died on September 16, 1944, on a hillside in southern France. Joseph "Joe" Bonzek was there. Mr. Bonzek carried him down the mountain, but Corporal Jesus M. Gallardo was already gone. Mortar fire, an artillery shot or shrapnel killed him.
The family would like Jesus M. Gallardo's family to have the photo, to know that he was a good soldier and that he fought hard and admirably, first in the Army Rangers, then in the 1st Special Service Force, an elite group of U.S. and Canadian commandos nicknamed the Devil's Brigade or Black Devils.
"Jesse", as they call him, wasn't married, perhaps there is a niece of nephew, or a sibling, Joe and his wife Thelma could get in touch with the family.
Finding a relatiave has become a "personal mission" for Joe, his biggest fear wasn't dying. It was 'that he would die over there, only to be forgotten forever, like so many soldiers", a family member said.
The elder Bonzek is now 88 years old. Corporal Gallardo's grave in in Draguignan, not far from the southern French coast, a family member said.
If any one knows anything about WWII hero Corporal Jesus M. gallardo please let me know.