Seabrook Resident Recalls His Time as a Buffalo Soldier as Veterans' Day Approaches

Ben Stewart Served Country as Part of a Unit That is Often a Forgotten Part of World War II History

TINTON FALLS, NJ - Seabrook resident Ben Stewart recalls that his experience as a World War II veteran was one filled with adventure, service and survival.  He was part of a special fraternity known as the Buffalo Soldiers. As a Buffalo Soldier, serving in the 92nd U.S. Army Infantry Division, Mr. Stewart endured the crossfire of Nazi soldiers in Northern Italy.  He helped U.S. forces break through the Gothic Line, the last major line of defense in the final stages of World War II along the summits of the Apennine Mountain Chain in the country. "We launched an advance in May and captured a good portion of the German Army," Mr. Stewart recalls.  "We then further advanced into Italy and brought in another unit.  We went into Pisa and then broke through the Gothic Line.  It was a tremendous series of battles." Serving from February 1942 to November 1945, Mr. Stewart, who is originally from South Bend, Indiana, faced a great deal of challenges, some of which even included prejudice within his own ranks. "Yes I was angry," Mr. Stewart said. "It was happening to all of us (black soldiers). I never felt that I should have had to undergo that persecution." Mr. Stewart channeled that anger and battled throughout his time in the European theatre of war.  He and his brigade fought throughout Italy's Po Valley, liberated the Italian city of Borgo Menaso and then they aligned themselves with the 442nd Infantry Regiment, a Japanese-American fighting unit that served the United States.  This brigade included current Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye. Mr. Stewart said that he is grateful he survived the war and did so without being wounded.  As for his service, he said that he was honored to fight for the United States. "This country is my home," Mr. Stewart said.  "I love America and couldn't imagine living anywhere else." There are many World War II stories of valiant soldiers who served this country.  The story of Mr. Stewart is certainly one that needs to be told.  Media interested in speaking with him may contact Tony Ciavolella to arrange for an interview.  Mr. Stewart has photos and items from World War II to share. More than 1,400 people live at Seabrook, an Erickson Living full-service retirement community that promotes a vibrant lifestyle.  Erickson Living develops and manages 16 full-service retirement communities that provide worry-free living for America's seniors - the country's fastest-growing population segment.  Erickson Living's refundable entrance deposit and predictable monthly service fees provide residents across the country financial peace of mind. Comprehensive health and wellness services, integrated into every community, lead to demonstrated resident benefits.  For more information, visit www.ericksonliving.com.