Sgt. Michael DeFebio
Recon. Company 643rd TD BN.
Army Serial number: 20154302
Unit: 1st Platoon, Recon. Company, 643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion.
Born 13-May-1918 Place: Providence, Rhode Island.
Died: 12-Apr-1945 Place: Barby, Germany.
Date of final Burial: 24-Jan-1949 at American Military Cemetery Margraten (The Netherlands)
Location: Plot: E. Row: 2. Grave: 7.
Father: Gaetano DeFebio † Last known address: 75 Marshall Street Providence, RI
Mother: Angelina DeFebio †
Sisters: Phyllis †, Lucy †, and Ann †.
Brother: Rocco † and a Half Brother: Ferdinand †
Brother-in-Law: Ray Hurlbut
Niece: Joan Michelotti
Purple Heart - Bronze Star
07 May 2006
Today I have e-mailed the Adoption Grave foundation to signed up for adoption of a grave at American Military Cemetery Margraten, next day I already received an answer back that my application is received and they soon gone send me the Certificate.
I'm curious which grave I get assigned...!!.
18 May 2006
Today received my certificate, the grave I've been assigned to is that of Sgt. Michael DeFebio, Army Registration number 20154302.
He served with the 643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion and lived in The State Rhode Island.
2 July 2006
Today sent request for Michael DeFebio's IDPF.
Standard letter completed and sent to address below to obtain Individual Deceased Personnel File of Sgt. Michael DeFebio.
The Total Army Personnel Command
2461 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, Virginia, 22331-0482
12 July 2006
Today I received acknowledgment of me letter, stating that they gone sent me a copy of Michael's IDPF.
10 August 2006
Today received Michael's IDPF.
There it was a large white envelope... inside Michael's IDPF, I was curious what was in it. The first day I just quickly browsed the documents.
The next days I studied it from the beginning to the end.
His IDPF covers the period from May 1, 1945 to March 15, 1949 mostly communication between the Army and Michael's wife (Olga DeFebio) and parents (Gaetano en Angelina DeFebio)
I also discovered that Micheal's grave already once was adopted, by a certain Mrs. Ria Merkelbag from the town Heer.
25 June 2007
Today send request for Michael DeFebio's Personnal Military Record.
Standard letter completed and sent to address below to obtain Personnal Military Records of Sgt. Michael DeFebio.
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St.Louis, MO 63132-5100
18 July 2007
Today received letter from National Personnel Records Center.
No good news ... the documents I requested were not available anymore, they were lost during a major fire in 1973.
During this fire many documents where destroyed/burned from a period 1912 to 1959
22 October 2007
During my ongoing search for relatives of Michael I came on an internet page of a Committee, that establish a memorial to commemorate all the fallen WW2 soldiers from the US State of Rhode Island. I E-mailed the webmaster and he forwarded my E-mail to John DeFusco with the question if he could help me, the next day I already received an E-mail from John with the message ....Will see what we can find out..!!
The Memorial under construction
Click link under to Rhode Island WW2 Memorial Website
31 October 2007
This afternoon I received an E-mail from John Defusco that he had spoken with Micheal´s brother-in-law, Ray Hurlbut, who is married with Michael´s sister Lucy.
Also in the E-mail was Ray´s Address, Telephone number and E-mail Address. I was trilled by that message and the same evening I wrote an E-Mail to Ray and Lucy.
1 November 2007
My first E-mail from Ray and Lucy
Ben: We were thrilled when John DeFusco
called and told us about you. The thrill was magnified greatly when your
email letter arrived. We appreciate your adoption of Michael's grave and
the photos reminded me of my visit to his grave.
I will search our photos and find something of Michael for you. We have a web site for honoring WW2 vets www.WWII-Memorial.com and you can find a page dedicated to Michael. I am also a WW2 vet but my service was in the U S Navy as a radioman in Naval Aviation, mostly in Pacific.
Will let you know when photos have been posted. Sincere regards and thanks from Lucy and me.
2 November 2007
Today I received the first pictures.
Under Michael with his mother Angelina DeFebio.
Ray also forwarded my E-mail to Joan Michelotti ... She´s Michael´s niece, daughter of Michael´s oldest sister Phyllis.
Ben: The memorial site does not provide all the information about Michael that is posted. This link gets you to the page where you can search the registry.
When you click on search the registry there will be places for you to insert Michael's name. What you get is the official information which you already have. There is another site but I cannot find how to direct you to it. I will figure it out and get that to you. I will enclose a print out of the site with the photos. I have sent your first email to Lucy's niece, Mike would be her Uncle, and lives in Rhode Island. She was also thrilled and may contact you. Her name is Joan Michelotti.
Good bye for now and God Bless you for tending Mike's grave site..........lucy and Ray
27 November 2007
Received several photo´s from John "Michael's name on the wall of the Rhode Island WW2 Memorial"
8 March 2008
Info (E-Mail) from Bernard "Bernie" Haas, Bernie is the 643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion Historian and lives in Archbold, Ohio.
The information I have about Michael DeFibio is that he was killed at Barby (maybe Barbe) Germany on 12 April, 1945. He was in Recon Company. Recon is an abbreviation for reconaisance. Their job was to proceed ahead of the gun companies searching for the enemy, mines or blown bridges making it necessary to find a different route to get to their destination. They also had some equipment that they could use to mend shell or bomb holes in the road so the destroyers could reach their destinations too. As Defibio's platoon was traveling near Barby, they were ambushed. Six men were killed there just 3 or 4 weeks before Germany surrendered. Barby is near the Elbe River.
12 April 2008
Today it's exactly 63 Years ago that Michael was KIA, so this morning I went to Margraten Cemetery to place flowers. I had Ray and Lucy informed that I would visit Michael's grave today and they asked me to place a bouquet in their name. ... so I did...!!
Pictures from that day...!!
22 April 2008
Letter received from The States from a certain Lew Reynolds ... ?...Name I never heard off, but after reading the letter it showed that he and Michael were riding on the same armored car (M8 "Greyhound") when they ran into that terrible ambusch near Barby, Germany..... Micheal was killed and Lew was wounded and eventually taken to a hospital in Paris.
April 12th Mike Death.
April 15, 2008.
Received a letter from a friend in the 643rd what caught my attention, Mike DeFibio and I were riding in the Turret of our tank destroyer (I’m still in touch and have been with Merle Robinson who was driving the M8) Mike and I raised up out of the turret and caught a spray of machine-gun fire just a we approached the Elbe river. Mike caught 3 bullets and sank back in his seat. He never Suffered, never moved. I was hit in the fore-head over my right eye. The medics came quickly and I was sent back and eventually to a hospital in Paris (Minor injury-Looked bad-No harm) I hope this information will be helpful.
April 12, 2008 Respectfully, Lew Reynolds
7 June 2009
4 days visit to Normandy ....In the Visitors Center on Normandy American Military Cemetery I looked up Michael's name in the database.
The links below will forward you to other webpages devoted to Michael DeFebio.