ANTHONY JOSEPH JAGIELLO
A short Biography
By Marian Clark, grand daughter
Antoni Jagiello was born on May 10, 1889 in a small village near Krosnos in southern Poland, very close to the Czechoslovakian border, called Sucho dol (Piaseczno County) and came to the United States on June 5, 1905, went to Plains, Pennsylvania to live with his sister and her husband John Cook. Later he went to Plymouth, PA. He was only 16 years of age. Being one of several children, he was one of the youngest and he hardly knew his mother much less his father. He said it was almost like being an orphan. He had an older brother, Albert, who came to the states before Anthony came and worked first in Buttonwood, which is across the river from Plymouth. He then moved to Johnstown, PA and after several years of working at a factory, had became very ill and died in a hospital in Wilkesborro, PA of unknown causes from his illness (probably typhus) having never married.
Anthony and his siblings were born in a poor country and raised on a farm. They ate what they raised and there was not much meat. They came from what they called 'Austria Poland.' Poland was once split and crucified: Part Russian; part Austrian; and part German. Later, after the First War, Poland became free.
His sisters who brought him up and watched over Anthony, were very reluctant to send him to the USA because they were afraid that the same thing would happen to him that happened to Albert, but they finally agreed because, as he said, there was no future for him in Poland.
So he went looking for a companion to travel with him and found a young boy in the next village. They journeyed together to Hamburg where they were going to pick up the ship but suddenly they were split up. The young boy went directly to New York where Antoni was directed to England. He was so confused and said by then, he didn’t know where they were sending him. Leaving Hamburg, Germany, he traveled on a british ship, known as the “City of Bradford” (1903-1936), which was a steamboat headed to Grimsby, Liverpool, England and landed at Plymouth. His occupation on the Passenger list was stated as a farmhand or farm laborer and his nationality was Galician. It also stated that his final destination was Wilkes Barre.
He stayed Grimsby for several days and then went by train to Liverpool and caught a ship to the US. Once he arrived in the US, he started working for a mining company as a machinist (quoted from a newspaper article I have in my possession but it is not known the name of it nor the date) and in moving slate (which came from the story printed in the Leatherneck) at a $1.50 a day and worked in Plymouth, PA about three years.
He then moved to Chicago where he went to work for the International Harvester Company. His english was very poor. He later changed his job and began working for a machine shop. He knew he wanted to be in the military because in Poland, he used to admire the uniforms the soldiers wore and the uniforms in the United States were even nicer, so he tried to enlist in the Army. The recruiting sergeant sent him to Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis to test him, however, they turned him away after he failed the language test for English, and sent him back to Chicago.
After returning, he noticed the blue uniforms the Marines were wearing. That was when he met Cpl Kyser and learned of the Marines. Cpl Kyser advised him to to go to night school to learn more English which he did. Finally, he passed the test and could become a Marine in 1912. But he was still very careful with speaking it until he was a Private in the Marines.
He was the number one man, second squad, all through his bootcamp, which lasted 3 or 4 months and when he graduated, the unit was split up. He went to guard duty at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York.
One evening as heard revelry, he was ordered to dress and put on heavy marching uniform gear and was lead aboard ship known as the Prairie where they formed the 1st Provisional Brigade and went to Cuba because a revolution was in the making. Col Lincoln Karmany would command this provisional brigade. On May 23, 1912, they sailed on the Prairie, the 2nd Regiment left in two increments for Key West, Fla. The 2nd Regiment was placed aboard nine ships: Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington. He landed in Guantanamo Bay on May 28th. Two companies of Marines remained at Gitmo and the remainder of the brigade returned to the US.
While there, he guarded the warehouses, about 3 months and then returned to Brooklyn. After that duty, he was sent to Nicaragua for two years (unless he chose an for extended tour) and served as a guard.
An excerpt from Wikipedia states:
The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was first created in 1912 for occupation duties in Cuba. Earlier that year, the Negro Rebellion had erupted throughout Cuba among former black slaves. A 1st Provisional Marine Regiment of 450 men under Colonel Lincoln Karmany was assembled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 22 May. At the same time, a 2nd Provisional Marine Regiment of 750 men under Colonel James Mahoney assembled at Key West, Florida. The two regiments sailed for Cuba aboard the USS Prairie, with 1st Battalion, 2nd Regiment, landing at Havana and the remainder of the force at Guantanamo. There they combined to form the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade in early June under Karmany, and the United States Marines fanned out in Oriente Province, occupying 26 towns and controlling all rail traffic in the area. The Marines protected United States sugar plantations in Siboney and El Cobre until late July when the Cuban government was able to clamp down on the revolt. At that point, the Marines pulled back to Guantanamo, disbanded the brigade and returned home.
Another 1st Marine Brigade was created once again during the Occupation of Haiti. This brigade, however, was not considered a "provisional" unit and maintained a permanent establishment in Haiti from 1915 to 1934. The 1st Marine Brigade was considered a separate unit lineage, and it was reactivated in 1941 and expanded to form the 1st Marine Division.
(NOTE: I remember hearing about General Pendleton often when stories were told about his experience in Nicaragua and recently learned that he was part of “Chesty Pullers” team.)
Another Wikipedia excerpt on General Pendleton states:
Service in Nicaragua and Cuba, 1912–1913
He was detached from the Philippine Islands on May 6, 1912 and returned to the United States via the Suez Canal and Europe, reporting to the Marine Barracks Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on August 1, 1912. Colonel Pendleton was detached on temporary foreign shore service from August 23, 1912, until December 16, 1912. This foreign service covered the period of the 1912 operations in Nicaragua. Colonel Pendleton was in command of the Marines during this campaign in the skirmishes at Massaya and Chichigalpa, and the capture of Coyotepe and Leon. From February 19, to June 1, 1913, Colonel Pendleton was absent with an expeditionary force at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. On August 20, 1913, he was detached from the Marine Barracks at Portsmouth.
From 1917-1942 he went on three tours of duty in the West Indies and duty aboard the USS Connecticut and USS Minnesota.
After this enlistment, he went back to the states and was discharged at Mare Island, California. He went back to Chicago and worked again for the International Harvester.
He was only two months out of service when he realized that he didn't know what to do with himself. He just wasn't satisfied so on the way to work one day, he decided to turn around half way there and went back home to change clothes and go reenlist in the Marines as a private again. They sent him to the East Coast and assigned him on the battleship USS Minnesota as a pointer on a seven-inch gun as part of a gun crew. He later became a trainer of that same position. He was the senior man on his gun and still a private and very proud to be seagoing.
For seven years he acted as corporal. In those days there were only four enlisted grades. He stood six feet tall then and weighted 165 pounds and loved how he looked in a uniform. One day he decided he wanted to have a photo taken of himself in his uniform but he needed to get special permission to leave the post in uniform. So he requested it, and received it.
He was a very good sharpshooter with a rifle which he said took him eight years to master. He also became an expert shooter with the pistol (a total of 13 years) as well while in Quantico, Virginia.
Next he was aboard the USS Connecticut, the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet, manned by the old-timers of the Navy and part of the Great White Fleet (which was before his time). He was on guard duty or serving as a telephone orderly and advanced to captain’s orderly, while continuing to be the pointer. Later they mothballed the Connecticut along with the South Carolina, Michigan and Vermont which were all “battle wagons” and took the Marines to form the 10th Artillery Regiment.
He was transferred to Baltimore, Md to attend motor transport school. He thought he was going to learn how to drive and repair vehicles but after graduating #2 in the class, was put in the machine shop because he did so well in this field with drawing and machining and he loved it.
He went back to Quantico to work in the machine shop on post and they organized their first motor transport company there. “Whenever the Marines went on a hike or on maneuvers, I would go in my machine shop, on wheels. One day, President Harding visited us in the field and he came into my shop. We were down by Fredericksburg, VA, and Smedley Butler, who was the commanding office, was with the President.”
In 1919, while he was with the 10th Regiment at Quantico, they formed a guard of honor for King Albert of Belgium and he was a member of the escort of honor for the Duke of Windsor, who was then Prince of Wales.
In 1926, he was ordered to Haiti. He was now married with three children. He was a gunnery sergeant by then where they rented a house. They stayed for 2 years and were returned to Quantico after refusing his request to stay in Haiti longer. After two more years in Quantico, he was again ordered to Haiti but this time with 5 children. Again back to Quantico where he served until he retired in 1946 at age 57.
After he retired he was lost with “nothing to do”. He put an addition on his house but remained bored. He learned that he was not eligible for Social Security because the Marine Corps didn't take out for it so he ended up having to go back to work and became a security guard for a store and later on the hospital. He worked well into his 70’s and then finally retired. He was always active keeping in shape with calisthenics every morning and evening.
His final thoughts in life were stated in an story published in the Leatherneck in June 1984 written by Tom Bartlett. It stated:
“It has been a good life,” retired MSgt Anthony Jagiello says, "I have done much and seen much. You know, 95 years is not so much. It passes quickly. I have many memories of my wife and my life; my family and the Marine Corps. "There are two things," and the deep chuckle interrupted his comment. "I am Jagiello. I will be always Jagiello. I am a Marine master sergeant. I will be always a Marine....”