Staff-Sergeant Bruce H. Schmeal

Antitank Company – 60th Infantry Regiment

Bruce H. Schmeal was born on June 10th, 1918, in Hackettstown, NJ. His parents, Harold and Josephine, have two sons (Bruce H. and William G. Schmeal) and five daughters (Doris, Betty, Rose, Helen and Lois Schmeal). He attended Hackettstown schools where he was active in several sports. Prior to his induction, he was employed at Lackawanna Leather Co., of Hackettstown.

He entered service in January 1941 and is assigned to the Antitank Company, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division after he has been through Basic Training in Fort Bragg, NC. Bruce was married to Helen Campbell, and on December 4th, 1942, she gave birth to their son, Robert (1942 – 2016).

Bruce (r.) at Fort Bragg in 1941.

In November 1942, Bruce H. Schmeal takes part to the first Allied large scale operation in North Africa and lands on the beaches of North Africa. He fights along until the end of the Tunisian campaign, and took part to the operations in Sicily before being sent back to England where he trains new recruits for the upcoing invasion of Europe, using his combat experience acquired in North Africa.

On June 10th 1944, the day of his 25th birthday, he lands on Utah Beach when the 60th Infantry Regiment joins the fight in Normandy. Their mission was to race across the Cotentin Peninsula and reach the Western edge of it to cut the German forces and then turn North towards Cherbourg.

On July 15th 1944, after more than a month of combat in Normandy, Staff-Sergeant Bruce H. Schmeal is killed in action while fighting to seize a crossroad of importance for the regiment’s operations, in Les Champs-de-Losque, near Saint-Lô.

Abstract of a 1943 U.S. Amy map (1:100.000). Les Champs-de-Losque Halmet is highlighted, North-West of Saint-Lô.

Bruce H. Schmeal was first buried at the U.S. Temporary Military Cemetery of Sainte-Mère-Église. His remains were then sent back to the States on his family’s request. A funeral with full military reburial honors for Staa-Sergeant Bruce Harold Schmeal, of Hackettstown, were conducted with services in St.James Episcopal Church.

Bruce’s grave at the temporary cemetery of Sainte-Mère-Église.
Bruce’s Dog Tag and the tag that was nailed to the wooden marker at the temporary cemetery.
Bruce’s grave at the cemetery of Hackettstown, NJ.

May the sacrifice of Staff-Sergeant Bruce H. Schmeal not be in vain, as he gave his life for a better world.