Remembering the GI Bulge:
Alumni Remember the GI Bulge Years

One of the goals of this exhibit is to open up the University's memory banks and collect oral, written and photographic history to help us better document the post-WWII years at Syracuse University. The Archives was very fortunate to immediately latch on to several alumni who were willing to share their memories. Those alumni are featured on the Veterans Share Their Memories page. However, after the exhibit was mounted, other alumni came forward with archival materials. They are featured below.

Louise White Levy '50

Louise loaned her extensive photograph album covering the years 1946 to 1950. Some of the photographs are shown.

Louise White Levy Sims Hall before the dining facility was built

Louise White Levy Sims Hall after the dining hall was built; Note the temporary metal building at the right

Louise White Levy Sims Dining Hall - interior shot

Louise White Levy Trenches dug for the temporary housing behind Holden Observatory (in its pre-Eggers Hall location)

Louise White Levy Construction of the temporary buildings behind Crouse College

Louise White Levy Temporary housing units west of Crouse College down the hill towards Irving Avenue

George McPhillips George F. McPhillips '49

George generously donated his photographs representing life in the Syracuse University's trailer park at Drumlins. The captions are taken from the actual photographs.

George McPhillipsCirca 1947 - Margaret and Peg Rizzo. Peg...air out cushions from trailer!

George McPhillips Nice clothes line! Pre dryer days I do believe!

George McPhillipsCirca 1947 - Margaret and George - Nice saddle shoes!

George McPhillipsCirca 1947 - Drumlins University "Trailer Park" Margaret in dark jacket and George standing

George McPhillips Circa 1947 - The telephone booth was the only one in the trailer park. It was virtually in front of our trailer. Mel Rizzo in foreground with his dog. Wife Peg in background - they must have been rich since they had a white fence and a dog!

Joseph Bongo '49 & '60

The influx of GI's into the Syracuse University ranks made its presence felt both in the classrooms and on the sporting fields; with Joe it was in the boxing ring

Joseph BongoThe caption reads: Orange Bowl for Orange Boxers. Members of the Syracuse University glove team who will compete against the University of Miami Tuesday in the Southland are, left to right: Captain Gerry AuClair, Walter Bowe, Al Sauerwein, Joe Bongo, Dick Prussin, Julian LeVine, Ray Fine and Len Lustick. The squad, with Coach Roy Simmons in charge, leaves the city tomorrow by plane for the scene of action

Joseph BongoJoe was able to participate at Syracuse through the GI Bill after completion of his service in the United States Navy.

Joseph BongoAfter college, the former navy man and collegiate boxer went on to blaze a career locally in educational administration

Joseph Bongo "Joe Bongo scored a victory over Clarence Tannell, 1946 eastern intercollegiate champion in 145 lb. class, as Syracuse mitmen defeated Coast Guard, 9 to 1"

Joseph BongoJoe (left) leaves Syracuse University, but remembers alma mater through his numerous returns to support Syracuse University's boxing program

Wesley Peterson '50

The Archives is very fortunate to have received the photographs below from Wesley Peterson, Class of 1950. These were taken with a slide camera he received as a graduation present. The Archives has never seen color shots before of the trailers used as married student housing for veterans who attended college under the GI Bill.

Wesley Peterson, ARM 12-1644The Peterson trailer at the Drumlins Trailer Park

Wesley Peterson, ARM 12-1644Piskor Street, named for Vice-Chancellor Frank Piskor. The Peterson trailer is at the right

Wesley Peterson, ARM 12-1644The kitchen of the Peterson trailer

Wesley Peterson, ARM 12-1645The living room of the Peterson trailer

Attilio A. Mascone '48

Attilio A. Mascone '48 Attilio donated a large packet of material relating to his time in WWII including the Battle of the Bulge and being a German POW. Photocopies of his military records, newspaper clippings, and photographs are available in the collection. His experiences, as told to his daughter Patti Mascone are recorded here.

From Battle of the Bulge to GI Bulge:
Attilio A. Mascone, Electrical Engineering, 1948
As told to daughter Patti Mascone, or from Attilio's contemporaneous letters

The college years of many men were interrupted by the call to serve in World War II. For Attilio it began with a high-schooler's dream, one that was difficult to realize for the bevy of sons of poor Italian immigrants-attending college. So Attilio got a part-time job at a local manufacturer and enrolled in Hillyer College (now the University of Hartford). After receiving his associate's degree, he entered the Army Reserve Corp, while also applying to Syracuse, his dream school. Soon, however, Attilio was completing infantry training and joining the 106th Infantry in Europe.

Within days of arrival in Belgium and just days before Christmas, Attilio's unit, the 422nd, was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. The prisoners were forcibly marched in the freezing cold snow and crammed into boxcars for delivery to prison camps, where they were separated by rank, religion, etc.-an often hasty Nazi decision sent men who were "thought" to be Jewish to hard labor camps. But the men first had to survive bombing of the boxcars by the Allies, who did not realize that human "cargo" was on board; the prisoners could feel each others' hearts racing.

Attilio was held in a hugely overcrowded Stalag 9B, Germany, until the Americans freed the prisoners around Easter of 1945. The prisoners often got by on one piece of bread and a cup of coffee for the day (the Nazi guards had little to eat as well), but fortunately the Red Cross otherwise intervened and monitored as best they could, based on the Geneva Convention. Attilio helped pass the time by writing down his favorite foods, listing cites in the United States, praying with fellow soldiers (a chaplain was among them), trading items with willing guards (an American soldier spoke German), and crafting letters home (which were censored, only arriving after he was freed).

Attilio A. Mascone '48

After recuperation (some of which was in Lake Placid, New York), Attilio-who was several pounds lighter, suffering from malnutrition, stomach pain, the residual effects of frostbite, and lack of dental care in the camp-entered Syracuse on the GI bill. Attilio tackled his engineering studies with energy, rarely, if ever, mentioning his health, as numerous letters indicate. Housing at Syracuse was hard to come by, so his first dormitory was in nearby Baldwinsville. Attilio continued to receive medical treatment in the city, while seeking recognition from the Department of Veterans' Affairs for the "invisible," lingering disabilities of the prisoners, recognition and care that he and other veterans ultimately obtained. All of the POWs were awarded Bronze Stars.

Senior Ball '48 A. Mascone, B. Jean

His future wife Beatrice J. Jean, a Canadian immigrant who was also a resident of Hartford, joined Attilio on campus to attend social functions, from football games (Colgate!) to Spring weekend, to the Senior Ball. Attilio sent Beatrice Syracuse Daily Orange newspaper clippings in the mail, especially those describing upcoming events, containing some silly humor, or regaling the newfound freedoms of females. After a train ride to Syracuse, Beatrice either stayed at a local hotel or as a guest of one of the female students, who were just entering Syracuse en masse. Double dates were the rage; corsages and dance cards for the ladies, a plenty; certainly these events provided the backdrop for budding love affairs that would last a lifetime. Attilio particularly enjoyed the Big Band sound on the jam-packed dance floor, as well as the campus parades, with their themes and sometimes whacky student-built floats. In his letters, Attilio provided honest critiques of the abundant entertainment and food! Off campus, sightseeing at Lake Ontario and other locales offered a diversion, marked by postcards to family and friends or photos.

Attilio graduated about four years older than a typical grad, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, going on to become a Mechanical Engineer with the General Services Administration in Washington, DC, with a specialty in the building of elevators and escalators and code standards related to this machinery. He worked on several DC landmarks, including the FBI Building, the Hirshhorn Museum, and the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. He helped with the renovations of several Federal buildings to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.