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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


This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

~From Henry V by William Shakespeare


Some of this story is based upon bits of information my father, Adam, shared with me during his lifetime as well as conversations with the men and women who were childhood friends in the Brightwood section of Springfield, Massachusetts.  Other information has been gleaned from the men's service records.

While conducting my research for this book, I was struck by one reality.  That is, how little I knew about the extent and accomplishments of my family and their friends during the war.  I am amazed how these men went to war, did their duty, came home and went on with their lives.  They did not boast, they did not hang their medals on a wall or brag of their service.  The only reason I know of their service is the result of my researching their records, not through in-depth discussions.  As a matter of fact, any discussions I may have had regarding their service focused on positive memories of friends and events, not the horrors they witnessed.  They were, as Tom Brokaw defined, part of the "Greatest Generation".


The young men from Brightwood served their country on the home front and in all military Theaters of Operations (American Campaign, European- African - Middle Eastern Campaign and the Asiatic Pacific Campaign).  Although not everyone saw action, the truth is when they enlisted they had no idea what fate would bestow upon them.  Through serendipity or divine intervention their service brought some of them far from the battlefront.  As Tom Brokaw stated, "Not all of them were on the front line or even in a critical rear echelon position, but they were fused by a common mission and a common ethos".  No matter the role, they each brought honor to their country and pride to their families.