This plaque is mounted on a seat in the Allison & Howard Lutnick Theater onboard the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York Harbor.  It was dedicated on Memorial Day, 25 May 2015

This website is dedicated to four individuals who dedicated their lives toward the United States effort to win World War II.  They are my father, Charles Asztalos, who served with the 267th FAB, his future wife Roseann Iozzia Asztalos, who was a defense plant worker and her first fiance, Eskew Steffens, who lost his life on the USS INTREPID when it was attacked by kamakazi planes and Lieutenant Colonel Walter H. Hinsch, the first Commanding Officer of the 267th and only person to lose his life while serving with the unit.

 

 

Charles Asztalos

Charles on leave in Garfield NJ prior to shipping out to the ETO

Biography:  Charles A. Asztalos was born on January 23, 1923, in Garfield, New Jersey. He was the son of Karoly Asztalos and Bertha Kovacs and attended Garfield Public School #2 through the ninth grade.  After leaving school, he served in the Civilian Conservation Corps and worked in a textile factory, operating a wool combing machine.

Service Time:  Charles entered the service on July 7, 1942, and was initially assigned to the 1229th Recruit Command at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He was sent to Fort Eustes, Virginia, and assigned to Battery A, 4th AA Training Battalion, where he spent the next two months before being transferred to Camp Hood, Texas, and Company B of the Student Regiment of the Tank Destroyer School.  After another two months, he was assigned to Company D of the 127th Training Battalion at the TDRTC (Tank Destroyer Replacement Training Center). In addition to his tank destroyer training, he also competed a course in auto-mechanic school.

On March 8, 1943, Charles left Fort Hood for Camp Shelby, Mississippi, where he joined the 267th Field Artillery Battalion. It is unknown if he had requested the transfer to artillery or if the change was due to a personnel need in that area. He spent eight months there, receiving instruction in cannon operation, ammunition handling and enemy infiltration.

From November 1 until November 17, 1943 the 267th was temporarily assigned to Camp Van Dorn MS to participate in combined training with the 364th Infantry Division, which was an all-black unit.  During that time, the 267th Commanding Officer, Colonel Hinsch was killed and two other officers wounded by a short round from an 81mm mortar.  Major William B Collins assumed command on a month later and would command the Battalion throughout the war.  On November 17, the 267th left Camp Van Dorn and completed a convoy to Camp Shelby where it conducted post maneuver training.

After completing a leave period in late November and early December, Charles reported back to the unit, which was now stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It was there that he completed a night infiltration course along with qualifying as a Marksman with the 30 Caliber Carbine.

The 267th shipped out from the New York port aboard the Queen Mary on July 23, 1944. They arrived in Glasgow, Scotland, on the 28th and after a month of final preparations, were loaded on transports for the English Channel crossing. They landed in Normandy on September 2nd, equipped with the 240 mm Howitzer. This was the largest of the artillery pieces used by U.S. Forces in the ETO and was towed by an 18 ton tractor. They were soon attached the XII Corps of the 3rd Army.

Charles was promoted to Private First Class on January 1, 1945, and continued with the unit for all their actions in France, Belgium and Germany, including the Battle of the Bulge. They received credit for the campaigns of Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe, Northern France and Rhineland. Charles remained with the unit until September when he was transferred to the 695th Armored Field Artillery Battalion before shipping home from Marseilles, France, on November 18th. During the voyage, the propeller fell off the Liberty ship they were aboard and they drifted until another ship arrived and gave them a tow. To reduce weight, the men were ordered to dump all war trophies off the rear of the boat.

Charles received the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the EAME Medal with credit for each of the units four campaigns, the Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp and the Good Conduct Medal. He left the service on December 17th, at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey with an Honorable Discharge.  

Post-Army: Charles returned to Garfield and found work doing maintenance on heavy equipment in a plastic products factory. On October 8, 1948, Charles married the former Roseann Iozzia who was born in Paterson, NJ, and was the daughter of Pietro Iozzia and Josephine Blundo. During the war, Roseann had worked at the Wright Aeronautical Plant designing parts for bomber engines. She continued this work throughout the war. The new couple had four children, Ken, born in 1949, Richard in 1953, Robert in 1959 and Patricia in 1962. In his spare time, Charles enjoyed gardening and was also a member of the VFW and the Knights of Columbus. 

After Charles retired, the couple moved to Zephyrhills, Florida. Charles and Roseann were married 61 years when he passed away on May 20, 2009. He was buried in the Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida. 

Roseann Iozzia Asztalos

After graduating Eastwood High School, Paterson NJ, in 1943, Roseann took a government sponored college mathmatics program at the New Jersey College for Women.  Wright Aeronautical in Paterson which produced airplane engines had to hire more workers to meet the military’s growing demand for more powerful engines to power larger planes.  Like other industries, it turned to women workers.  During the war years, aviation saw the greatest increase in female workers than any other industry. More than 310,000 women worked in the U.S. aircraft industry in 1943.  This represented sixty-five percent of the industry’s total workforce, compared to just one percent in the pre-war years. 

 

Roseann became one of those women.  With the successful completion of her mathematic studies, she became a Junior Pattern Design Worker in the Pattern Design Department.  There she designed parts, including various specialty screws, that went into military aircraft engines.  Her work relied heavily on the calculus, trigonometry and algebra taught her the previous summer.  Parts designed by Roseann became part of the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber, and the B-29 Superfortress, which includes the Enola Gay, that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.  

With the conclusion of the war, Roseann was laid off and resumed work in a factory office.  She met Charles at a dance and they married in 1948.  Roseann was with Charles until he passed away in 2009.  Roseann passed away in Florida in 2015. 

Eskew Ray Steffens

A year and a half after the Pearl Harbor attack, Roseann Iozzia, was designing parts for bomber engines at the Wright Aeronautical War Plant.  During those dark days, she met a young sailor at a dance who was preparing to ship out for combat in the Pacific.  They lived in an era when time was a precious commodity so they soon fell in love and got engaged.  Twenty-two year old Sc1 Eskew Ray Steffens reported onboard the USS INTREPID on 1 May 1944, and served honorably until he and 68 of his shipmates were killed when two kamikaze pilots struck the ship on 25 November 1944.  

Leutenant Colonel Walter H. Hinsch

Leutenant Colonel Walter H. Hinsch assumed command of the 267th Field Artillery Battalion in March 1943 while it trained at Camp Shelby. Lt. Col. Hinsch was a true soldier. He served as a private in World War I and after the armistice received an officer commission in the Army Reserves. He commanded the 185th Field Artillery Brigade, a reserve brigade headquartered in Chicago Illinois between March and December, 1922. Lt. Col. Hinsch was the first commanding officer of the newly created brigade and oversaw its summer training at Fort Sheridan Illinois. He also commanded the reserve 3rd Field Artillery Battalion for five years. Before coming to Camp Shelby to take charge of the 267th, he commanded the 26th Battalion at the Fort Sill Replacement Center. That was the main training center for field artillery. He also attended the field officers’ course in the winter of 1942. He was an experienced soldier, a combat veteran and an able leader for the 267th. On Monday, November 15, 1943 at Camp Van Dorn the 267th went to the range for artillery practice using live ammunition. Lt. Col. Hinsch, Second Lieutenants James W. Pollard and C. K. Sparks, along with Private Clyde R. Minshall directed the exercise from a forward observation post where they could see how accurate the projectiles were falling in relation to the targets. During the afternoon, a round from an 81mm mortar fell short of its intended distance and landed on the observation post. Lt. Col. Hinsch was killed, and the other three occupants were wounded, with Lt. Sparks being the most severely injured. The following day, with three wounded men recovering in the station hospital, the artillerymen gathered at the hospital chapel for a memorial service to their fallen leader. First Lieutenant Leonard J. Wisniewald accompanied Lt. Col. Hinsch’s body back home to Chicago.