Jeronimo F. Dominguez


Collection: 
World War II

Military Branch: 
Army

Interviewed By: 
Lynn Maguire-Walker

Date of Interview: 
January 29, 2006

Place of Interview: 
Elgin

TX

By Caleb Miller

As he picked crops in Texas during his youth, Jeronimo Dominguez never imagined that one day he'd be taking shelter in a German foxhole while his comrades died around him.

Dominguez, who was born in March 1913 in Medina County, about 40 miles southwest of San Antonio, only had an eighth-grade missionary school education. Before the war, he had traveled as far as North Dakota, to pick beets for $100, quite a haul in those days. That all changed, however, when he joined the Army.

Dominguez recalled that he had run away with his girlfriend, who was from Austin, Texas. They had been expecting the birth of their baby when he enlisted.

After training he found himself on a troop transport ship. His unit members had no idea where they were going until French-language literature was passed around. They landed on an Allied-secured Normandy beach.

On the way to the front, German forces spotted Dominguez's unit and unleashed an artillery barrage. Dominguez dove into a nearby foxhole. When he emerged, he and his gun were covered in sand, and he was unprepared for the carnage around him. His entire unit had been wiped out.

"They didn't have a chance ... they were all dead, blown away," Dominguez said, recalling the scene with great sadness. "I'm a human being, and I mean it."

He searched for survivors, but when another artillery piece exploded too close by, Dominguez decided it was time to hole up and stay safe. Eventually, he was found by another unit and thrown into the brig, since it was assumed he had abandoned his unit. After the military verified his story, however, Dominguez was released and reassigned to the 2nd Armored Division.

He did well, eventually getting promoted to private first class, which earned him an assignment in a tank. While rolling through an open tract of land, a German fighter plane spotted and targeted the tank. A slug ripped through his right arm, shattering a bone.

"I could not move; I was frozen in pain," said Dominguez, who somehow managed to get away from the tank before passing out.

He awoke in a beat up old barn with his wounds dressed. Then he was taken from one hospital to another, until eventually winding up in England, where he recovered during a year of surgeries and convalescence.

After he returned to the United States, Dominguez married his sweetheart and moved his family to Elgin, Texas.

For his service, he earned an American Theater Campaign ribbon; a Victory ribbon; a European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Campaign ribbon with two bronze service stars; two overseas service bars; a service stripe, and the Purple Heart.

Mr. Dominguez was interviewed by Lynn Maguire-Walker in Elgin, Texas, on Jan. 29, 2006.