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Brightwood Boys, The History of the Men from the North End of
Springfield, Massachusetts, During World War II
by Christopher P. Montagna



As the battle for Okinawa raged, the headlines in the April 13, 1945 edition of Springfield Republican blazed news of the unthinkable:



The news of President Roosevelt's death was devastating.  But the war was to be won and the soldiers continued on to victory.  As news of the Presidents death made it way to the men of the 277th Combat Engineers, who were bivouacked at Holsterhausen, Germany, the war was still very much on; the Wehrmacht had recently tried to shell a bridge the combat engineers had built across the Rhine.  The responsibility of notifying the Commanding Officer Major. E.O. Swickward of the news fell to Sgt. Arnold J. Sleeper.   The following was told to by his son James, "When  he awakened his commanding officer with news that Franklin D. Roosevelt was dead, Major Swickward growled from his bed,  "I don't give a flying f--- who the president is!"