Biography: Nicholas Poznick was born on November 9, 1922, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Peter Poznick and Milca Trevich. He attended local schools and would then join the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and work on projects related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state, and local governments.
Service Time: Nicholas entered the Army on January 13, 1943 at Altoona, PA. At some point, he was assigned to Company C of the 817th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The unit originally trained with self-propelled TDs but was converted to a towed battalion in June, 1943. In addition to training at a number of facilities within the U.S., they were also sent to North Dakota to assist with the wheat harvest.
The 817th shipped out from the Boston port on July 24, 1944, and arrived at Greenock, Scotland, on July 31st. It was just under a month later that they boarded transports and landed at Utah Beach, Normandy, France on August 25th.
The unit took up rear-area security duties in France and Belgium and guarded COMZ (Communication Zone) from August to November. They entered battle in the Hürtgen Forest with the 8th Infantry Division on December 9th and shifted to the Ardennes in February, 1945, and then back to the Roer River sector to fire as artillery. Participating in the advance to Rhine River with the cavalry, they crossed the river at Remagen on March 15th. They were the only towed TD battalion to enter the bridgehead.
The photo above left, looks like it may have been taken while the unit was assisting with the wheat harvest in North Dakota. Nicholas is shown in the back row, center. The right photo shows Nicholas at the wheel of a jeep, somewhere in the European Theater.
The 817th began conversion to M18 tank destroyers on March 26th and joined the 104th Infantry Division at the Ruhr Pocket in April. Two companies joined the drive eastward from Marburg in mid-April, fought in the Harz Mountains, helped to capture Halle and advanced to the Mulde River where offensive operations ceased.
Nicholas received a Certificate of Merit in recognition of his conspicuously Meritorious and Outstanding Performance of duty in connection with military operations in Germany. The award is dated April 17, 1945, but I suspect the citation probably covers an extended period while the unit was in Germany. We do not know Nicholas' final rank but, at the time of this award, he is listed a Private First Class. The 817th received credit for the campaigns of Northern France, Rhineland and Central Europe. Nicholas was discharged on December 12, 1945, at Indiantown Gap, PA.
After his discharge, Nicholas married the former Yolanda Fariccilo from Indiana, PA, in April,1951, at New Brunswick, PA. She was called "Violet" and was the daughter of Gusippee Fariccilo and Hannah Martini. The new couple made their home in Piscataway, New Jersey. They would have two children, a daughter Joyce and a son Nicholas P., born in 1948.
Nicholas initially worked as a clothes presser for the Sandler Brothers, but became a tailor and later owned and operated his own business, College Tailors, in New Brunswick, NJ. When he was not working or spending time with his family, he committed time to the South River Loyal Order of the Moose organization and was a lifelong member. He was very proud of his service with the 817th and was able to attend the 48th reunion of the unit, held in Pittsburgh, PA.
Nicholas passed away on August 14, 2006, and was buried in the Clover Leaf Memorial Park, Woodbridge, NJ. I want to thank Nicholas' grandson, Matthew, for providing the information and photos for this tribute.