Family: Sackett, James J. / Living (F14373)

m. Abt 1946


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  • Sackett, James J.Father | Male
    Sackett, James J.

    Born  Abt 1921  White Valley, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
    Died  17 Dec 2019  Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
    Buried    Westmoreland County Memorial Park, Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
    Married  Abt 1946  [1]   
    Father  Sacchet / Sackett, Vittore / Victor | F14369 Group Sheet 
    Mother  Enrico, Josephine | F14369 Group Sheet 

    LivingMother | Female
    Living

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    Died     
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    Mother   

    LivingChild 1 | Female
    + Living

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    Died     
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    Spouse  Living | F22110 
    Married     

  • Sources 
    1. [S543] Find A Grave (www.findagrave.com) (Reliability: 2), 7 Jan 2020.
      Memorial ID 205546604
      https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/205546604

      James J. Sackett, age 98 of Forbes Road, died Tuesday, December 17, 2019, at the Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital.

      He was born March 24, 1921, in White Valley, a son of the late Victor and Josephine Enrico Sackett.

      Jim was a member of Saint Bartholomew Church, the American Veterans Organization, Post 88 of Greensburg and the Disabled American Veterans, Allegheny Kiski Chapter 53. He was also a past member of the Holy Name Society of Saint Mary's Church at Forbes Road.

      Jim served in the United States Army with the 17th Airborne Division during World War II. He was wounded March 24, 1945, on his 24th birthday, during "Operation Varsity" a successful airborne forces operation launched by Allied troops that took place toward the end of World War II. Involving more than 16,000 paratroopers and several thousand aircraft, it was the largest airborne operation in history to be conducted on a single day and in one location. He received the Purple Heart.

      After the war, Jim worked for Jamison Coal Company, Jeannette Glass, Latrobe Steel, Advanced Heating and Plumbing and retired from Surface Chemical-Teledyne as a fork lift operator. His main focus in his life was providing and caring for his family.

      In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two sisters, Rose Fredo and Lucille Ferrero; and three brothers, David, Peter and Robert Sackett.

      He is survived by his loving and devoted wife for more than seventy-three years, Stella M. Werstuik Sackett; his only child, Joanne Sackett Brahosky and her husband, James of New Stanton; two grandchildren, Adam and Aaron Brahosky; three great-grandchildren, Ian, Nolan and Stella Brahosky; a brother, Richard Sackett and his wife, Marian of Greensburg; numerous nieces and nephews; and a special friend, Charlie Fidazzo.

      Relatives and friends are invited to celebrate the life of James from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday in the Clement L. Pantalone Funeral Home, Inc., 409 W. Pittsburgh Street, Greensburg. Parting prayers will be held at 9:15 a.m. Saturday in the funeral home, followed by a funeral Mass to be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. in the Saint Bartholomew Church with Father Justin Matro, Order of Saint Benedict, celebrating.

      Interment will follow in Westmoreland County Memorial Park, Greensburg.

      Jim's family has entrusted his care to the Pantalone Funeral Home, Inc. of Greensburg.
      Natale N. Pantalone, supervisor

      -------

      Family honors Forbes Road WWII veteran's service on his final day

      Stephen Huba, Tribune-Review staff writer, Wednesday, 18 December 2019

      The men called them flying coffins, and for many of the American paratroopers in March 1945, that?s what the gliders became.

      Cpl. James J. Sackett dodged a bullet and lived -- but not without taking flak in his leg and back and spending months recuperating in a stateside hospital.

      Sackett was wounded in action on his 24th birthday but ended up living another 74 years. He died Tuesday at age 98.

      "Pap got hit and wounded on the way down," grandson Adam Brahosky, the family historian, said Tuesday before Sackett passed. "He said he got lucky. He managed to get out of his chute and roll into a ditch, so the Germans didn't see him."

      Sackett, of Forbes Road, was part of Operation Varsity, the largest airborne operation of World War II and the Allies' final push into Nazi Germany. Two months later, the war in Europe was over.

      As Sackett spent the last days of his life in hospice care at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital, his family wanted to make sure that his story of bravery and longevity was told. It is estimated that nearly 300 World War II veterans die each day in the United States.

      Born on March 24, 1921, Sackett grew up in Forbes Road and worked for the Jamison Coal & Coke Co. before enlisting in the Army in 1943. He was assigned to the 17th Airborne Division, 139th Engineer Battalion, and did his basic training at Camp Mackall in North Carolina.

      Sackett was shipped to England and prepared for an operation that was to involve more than 2,000 Allied aircraft and 17,000 troops, carried via parachute and glider into northern Germany.

      "It was the last airborne operation in Europe, and it was to secure a bridgehead over the Rhine River for the final push into Germany," Brahosky said.

      As glider-qualified paratroopers, Sackett and his fellow engineers were directed to land just north of Wesel, Germany, and to secure the bridges over the Rhine.

      Large transport planes towed gliders to their scheduled release point and then let them go for their final approach on a predetermined landing zone. Sackett?s glider was hit, forcing him to bail with his parachute.

      "As our troops came through, they were able to get him evacuated," Brahosky said.

      Sackett was shot in the left leg and the back and had to have shrapnel removed from his knee and kidney, said his wife, Stella, 90.

      He spent time in England and then back in the United States, where he spent nine months in the hospital.

      "The guys who volunteered for this kind of duty were on a one-way trip. Gliders don't have any engines -- they're not coming back," said his son-in-law, James Brahosky, of New Stanton.

      Although his wartime experiences became part of family folklore, Sackett didn't talk about them much until recently. One outlet was the annual reunion the men of his unit held in Lancaster since 1946.

      Adam Brahosky, one of two grandsons, along with his brother, Aaron, of Unity, had expressed a fascination with his grandfather's military service since a young age. He began to learn more about it as he talked to some of those men.

      "One of the guys was telling me, 'These gliders, we called them flying coffins because they didn't have a lot of maneuverability,'" Brahosky said. "They also were being constructed by an actual casket company that had been converted from peacetime production to help with the war effort.

      "The irony of that was not lost on the troopers."

      Sackett opened up about his experiences after visiting the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., and being peppered with questions by nieces, nephews and great-grandchildren.

      Upon returning to Forbes Road, Sackett went back to work at the coal mine for a time. He got married in 1946.

      Sackett also worked for Advance Plumbing & Heating, Jeannette Glass, Latrobe Steel and Surface Chemical. He retired from Teledyne in his 60s.

      In retirement, he enjoyed cutting the grass on his tractor, washing and waxing his cars, working on other people's furnaces, delivering mail to elderly neighbors and walking at Lynch Field.

      He attributed his long life to clean living -- he didn?t smoke or drink -- and physical activity, said his daughter, Joanne Brahosky.

      "He's very tenacious and very strong-willed," she said. "He remained a fighter. Until very recently, what he would always say was, 'I can do it.' You would offer your arm to help him walk, and he would pull away (and say) ?I can do it.'"

      Sackett put others ahead of himself and formed a close relationship with God, his family said. He was a devout Catholic who, in addition to attending St. Bartholomew Parish in Crabtree, mowed the church lawn, maintained the furnace and served as an usher.

      Sackett earned the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal and seven other service medals.

      Researched by Ted Smith


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