On this page I build a tribute to PFC Cruz Gamboa. I adopted his grave on the Ardennes American Cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz. I saw the sad story of this young man during my search on the Thieme crew and decided to adopt the grave. The path Cruz followed before moving overseas is on research.
Here is some information on pfc. Gamboa found till now from the 28th Inf Reg morning reports kept by the NARA:
PFC Cruz Gamboa joined company G of the 28th Infantry Regiment on January 5, 1945 as a rifleman (MOS 745). This was as a replacement along with 23 other soldiers. His civilian occupation is listed as "499" but I am unaware of what this code means perhaps someone else can answer that. The company headquarters on this date was approximately 1 mile east of Vossenack in the Hurtgen forest. The map of the area is listed as "map of Germany-sheet 5304". Maps are located at the national archives in Maryland. I'm not that familiar with the process for getting the maps myself.
On January 21st he was listed as "dropped from assignment"-the reason being that he was a "BC" (battle-casualty) as well as MIA on January 18th. Probably it is likely that he went out on a patrol, got hit (as the "battle casualty" notation suggests), and the MIA was placed on the report because it could not be definitively proven that he was killed. I would suggest that he was killed on Jan. 18th because of the way the morning report reads though. They obviously knew something bad had happened to him. Very sad. He hadn't even been with the unit for two weeks.
Now I will try to find out more about this young hero who is buried here in Belgium. The following story was told by Vickie Gomez:
Cruz Lara Gamboa was born on September 15, 1925 to Juan (1884-1960) and Hijinia (Lara) Gamboa (1887-1954). He was the youngest of twelve children. His siblings included Silvestra (1906-1995); Andrea (1907-1982); Ramona (1907-1948); Refugia “Cuca” (1908-1980; Elauteria ”Teah” (1909-1993); Gregorio (1913-1980); Alejandra (1914); Felipa (1918-2007); Leonardo (1920-1957); and Placido (1922-1983). He was a Roman Catholic. Cruz is described as having been very kind, quiet and serious. He was also the “favorite uncle” because as most of his nephews remember, he was “such a good and kind person.”
Cruz attended school in Barstow, Texas at what was referred to as the “Mexican school” and it is believed that he attained a sixth grade education. One of his nephews, Severo Garcia, remembers that he quit school to help his father on the farm.
Cruz completed his basic training in Ft.Bliss, Texas. He was blessed to have his mother’s sister, Severa, living in El Paso and spent every weekend he could at his aunt’s house, enjoying her home cooking.Severo remembers that the last time that he saw Cruz, Cruz asked him to polish his shoes. While doing so, Severo asked him where he was going from Ft. Bliss and remembers being told that he was going for additional training close to Little Rock, Arkansas and from there he was being shipped to Germany.
None of the living nieces or nephews remember the date that our grandparents were notified that Cruz had been “lost in action.” Many of us remember going to Barstow to be with our grandparents during this crisis. Our grandparents’ home was located very close to the railroad and the small T&P depot. So, something else that is vivid in our minds is that our grandmother never gave up hope that he would be “found” and would return home. Because Cruz had boarded the train at the T&P depot when he left for Ft. Bliss, every time my grandmother would hear a train’s whistle she would go to the kitchen and stand by the screen door. Unfortunately, it would take 65 years before we would finally find some closure.
On December 31, 2009, Cruz’ niece, Vickie Gomez, purchased from Ancestory.com, a program which allowed her to view official records. That same night she ran across a military record which noted that instead of being an MIA, Cruz was a KIA and was buried in Ardennes, Belgium. She was made aware of a site called “Find a Grave” and sent out a request asking if anyone who might happen to be in Ardennes would take a picture of the grave site. Phillipe Vanderdonckt from Belgium answered my call. Not only did he provide us with pictures of the grave, but he has ‘adopted’ it, for this we are eternally grateful.
New information will be added if found.
On Dec, 2009 I adopted the grave of PFC Cruz Gamboa through the organization "Le Royal Briscard". Created in 1992, on Mr. Arsène DEBATISSE’s initiative, at that time Chairman of the Royal Society “Le Briscard” and supported by the board of directors, the ceremony of homage and remembrance was born. The purpose is to remember American soldiers killed in action to liberate our country in 1944 and also during the bloody Battle of the bulge during the hard winter from December 1944 to January 1945. Everyone should be concerned whit it and should search for sponsor’s candidates amongst his family, his closest relatives and the people round about him! For those who wish it, it is always possible to pay his sponsored grave a short visit as the American cemeteries are accessible throughout the year.