James Peter Stergos was born on December 3, 1920 in Plains, PA, son of Peter and Stella Stergos. He spent part of his life in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties before moving to Oxford, PA. He had two siblings.
James enlisted in the Army in 1939. He was an expert telephone operator in the Signal Corps. For two and a half years he was stationed in Hawaii and from there went thru the campaigns in North Africa. He joined the invasion forces in Italy in November of 1943.
Sergeant Stergos was part of the 10th Field Artillery Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division. In World War II, the 3rd Infantry Division fought from the North African landings in 1942, and into Tunsia. Taking part in the amphibious landings in Sicily, they crossed over into mainland Italy, and experienced hard fighting up the peninsula. This Division later fought its way into Germany, and at the end of the War was one of the few American Divisions to have been in combat continuously from the start to the end of the American involvement, and still end up in Germany at the finish.
James Stergos was Killed In Action on January 31, 1944. The notification was first received by his sister Olga in Washington, who relayed it to the other sisters. A cablegram on New Years Eve was the last message the sisters had received from James. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
The message from the Secretary of War read:
“We desire to express deepest regrets that your brother, Sergeant James Peter Stergos, was killed in action in defense of his country on January 31st in Italy. A letter will follow.---Adjutant General.”
James was buried in the Sicily Rome cemetery in Italy. This cemetery is located 30 miles south of Rome and covers 77 acres. An immense field of headstones encompasses the 7,861 American military dead arranged in gentle areas which sweep across the broad green lawns beneath rows of Roman pines.