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German City Honors 76th Infantry Division

Frank Mucedola

Frank Mucedola (1921-2007) served as a Tech Sergeant in I-304-76. A musician in civilian life, he established the Frank Mucedola Accordian School in Auburn, New York and has toured with the world-renowned Mantovani Orchestra.

The following article originally ran in
The Auburn Citizen August 24, 2003.

The 76th Infantry Division received its “Baptism of Fire” during the battle of the Bulge.

After crossing into Germany from Belgium and Luxembourg, the division was the spearhead of General George S. Patton’s 3rd Army final drive across central Germany and were among the first troops to make contact with the Soviet Red Army in the vicinity of Chemnitz, Germany, in May 1945.

The 76th Division had gone further east into Germany than any other American unit.

When Germany was divided into East and West, the 76th Division found itself in the East and was subsequently pulled back into the Western Zone.

However, between May and August 1945, when the Russians arrived, the 76th Division was on occupation duty in Schmolln, Thuringen, Germany.

From August 1945 until the Berlin wall fell, schools in occupied East Germany were required to teach students that Germany had been liberated from the Nazis by “The Glorious Red Army.”

The pre-1945 generation knew better, but kept silent out of fear of reprisals.

When the 76th Division was relieved of its occupation duties in August 1945, it was deactivated and its troops were reassigned to other units slated for the invasion of Japan which, for a brief time, was still at war with the United States.

Fortunately, that assignment never materialized as the atomic bomb ended the war and the troops were sent home.

Many years later, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the people of Schmolln in the former East Germany wanted to correct what they knew was a historical lie. They were not liberated from the Nazis by the Soviet Army, but by the 76th Infantry Division of the United States Army.

On April 13, 2003, the people of Schmolln erected a memorial to the 76th Division to show their appreciation.

I am one of the nine Auburnians who served in the 76th Infantry Division during World War II and am grateful that the people of Schmolln have honored us with their thoughtfulness.

-Frank Mucedola

Auburnians who served in the 76th Division in WWII

George P. Diehl
Paul J. DiFabion
Ronald P. Hart
Robert T. Mott
Frank Mucedola
James Napoli
George T Ryan
James Smith
Paul A. Tripociano

Pictures from a 2003 Veterans Tour that included Schmölln.

Mayor Köhler and Jay Hamilton unveiling plaque.
@2003 Sven Krause
Veterans of the 76th Division
@2003 Anne Adams
@2003 Charles Themar

Inscription on plaque:


APRIL 13, 2003


Dave Keefe

In 2010 David Keefe, a US Marine and grandson to Richard Keefe (I-304-76), visited Schmölln to honor his Grandfather’s service in the War and to see the plaque firsthand. Here’s the video he took.

For more pics of Schmölln taken by David Keefe, go to
Schmölln, Germany – Then and Now

Company I Homepage

By Jim Keefe

Jim Keefe is the current artist of the Sally Forth comic strip. From 1996-2003 he was the writer and artist of the Flash Gordon comic strip. A graduate of the Joe Kubert School, Keefe likewise teaches Comic Art. Teaching and speaking engagements include SVA in Manhattan, Hofstra’s UCCE Youth Programs, and most recently the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

6 replies on “German City Honors 76th Infantry Division”

Michael A. "Mike" Colleysays:


My father, Allen R. Colley, was a medic assigned to the 304th Bn Regimental surgeon. He was one of the medics trapped in the cellar of the Bn aid station in Orenhoffen when Germans counterattacked and held the village overnight. The Americans retook the village the following morning (account in regimental history at page# 112 and 113). My father died in 1968 without telling me or my siblings any details concerning his service in WW2. My siblings and I learned of his service by reading the 304th’s Regimental History long after his death. We visited Orenhoffen in the summer of 2019 and received a warm welcome from the folks we came in contact with.

Hi Mike,
Incredible that you were able to make a trip to Orenhoffen to honor your Dad like that. One of my goals in life in the next few years is to travel to Germany and visit Schmölln and Orenhoffen and do the same.
Many thanks for sharing!

All the best,

My Dad was in C Co 304th ww2. Was wounded in Treir Germany after town was capture.

Jane Stebbins-Skowronsays:

Dear Jim, I wrote about you for the Citizen with Frank Mucedola in 2003 for your World War Ii graphic novel. Recently I began working with two young men who are writing their own graphic novel and I told them about you. If by chance you kept the article I wrote, could you send me a copy of it so they can read it? The Citizen is a former shell of itself anymore and I can’t get a copy of it, sadly, no one is left in the office but one person. I hope you are well, I would still like a copy of your novel if possible. Thank you! Jane Stebbins (now Skowron), Auburn, NY
PS. I miss Frank…after that article I wrote we used to go to coffee every few weeks, and when he died it was super sad, he was a great guy.

Hi Jane, Long time no see! Your article is online at the following link. Graphic Novelist Pays Tribute.
The graphic novel is still a work in progress as research continues (and freelance work that pays the bills takes precedence). Since interviewing Frank I was able to interview other surviving veterans from the Company, find more records, and also make some trips to the National Archives at College Park, Maryland.
That said, I miss Frank as well – he was the BEST! The trips out to visit him and Adriana hold a special place in my heart.

Comments are closed.