PRIVATE FIRST CLASS JOHN CHILLEMI was born in Berlin NJ in 1921 to Domenic and Sarah Chillemi, who had emigrated to America from Italy. By 1930 the family had settled down in Berlin NJ, where they owned and operated a farm on Berlin-New Freedom Road. Besides John, there were older brothers Salvatore and Benjamin, both of whom were working in a nearby hosiery mill, older sisters Catherine and Frances, and younger brothers Vincent and Domenic Jr. Another daughter, Mary, was born after the 1930 census. John Chillemi attended school in Berlin NJ, but left school after one year of High School. He was employed by the Sun Shipbuilding Corporation in Chester PA prior to his induction.
John Chillemi was drafted in Camden on September 12, 1942. He was inducted into the United States Army at Fort Dix, N.J., on December 16, 1942. He trained at Fort Jackson, SC and Fort Bragg NC, before embarking from Camp Kilmer NJ for Europe. While serving with the Company E, 1st Battalion, 397th Infantry Regiment, 100th Infantry Division, he was killed in action in France on November 9, 1944, and interred initially in a U.S. Military Cemetery in France. His mother, Sarah Chillemi, wife of Domenic Chillemi, received a letter from his Commanding Officer, Col. William A. Ellis, which read in part as follows:
“John was buried in a United States Military cemetery in Northern France. Full religious service was accorded by the Catholic Chaplain who officiated.
“Whatever is said in your hour oil grief may be of small comfort. However small this comfort nay prove, I feel compelled to assure you that John gave his all in a cause dear to his heart and dear to the hearts of all who believe in justice and humanity.”
“His untimely passing is indeed felt sorely by the friends he made here. Please accept the warm sympathy of this regiment which continues the struggle, hopeful that John and others will not have died in vain.”
Colonel Ellis was subsequently killed in action at a later date not long after.
John Chillemi was brought home to New Jersey in the spring of 1948. He was buried at Gate of heaven Cemetery on the White Horse Pike in Berlin NJ on May 8, 1948.
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