By Mr. George Markfelder (JFHQNCR/MDW)October 1, 2010
The widow of the youngest infantryman on Omaha Beach during World War Two, Joan Argenzio, laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Sept. 28, along with representatives of the Fredricskburg Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Maj. Gen. Karl Horst, commander of the Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington (JFHQ-NCR/MDW).
As part of JFHQ-NCR/MDW community outreach efforts, Horst invited the chamber to Arlington Cemetery for a visit and wreath laying, and in turn, Joan Argenzio was asked by the chamber's Military Affairs Council to participate in the ceremony as a way of honoring and remembering her husband Joe Argenzio, who died earlier this year. Joe Argenzio had spoken before various community groups in the Fredericksburg region as well as the chamber's Military Affairs Council about his experience during the war.
According to press reports, Joe served with the 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One), 16th Infantry Regiment. Joe entered the army on September 14, 1944, at 16 years of age, altering his birth certificate to be eligible to serve. His first tour of duty was D-Day, landing in the first wave on Omaha Beach. He fought his way across Europe, The Battle of the Bulge, the Rhine Crossing, the Huertgen Forest, and the liberation of the concentration camp at Falkenau, Czechoslovakia. Decorations awarded for these campaigns include 2 Purple Hearts, Combat Infantry Badge, and 2 Bronze Stars. He later became a drummer in the Army's Regimental Band. In 2008, in recognition of his participation in the invasion of Normandy, Joe was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal at the French Embassy in Washington D.C.
The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Council advocates for and promotes the military and national defense bases, commands and installations in the region, and sees the national defense community in their region as a critical asset and a valuable economic and community partner.