U.S. Army Air Corps; TEC Corporal, 5th Air force, 873 Engineer Aviation Battalion
Nicholas Pasquarello Born: May 18, 1925
US Army Air Corps: Tec Corporal, 5th Air Force, 873rd
Engineer Aviation Battalion.Service #32 991 538
July 27, 1943, to January 19, 1946
When Nicholas turned 18 years old, he volunteered to be an Army Engineer. He already had experience operating heavy equipment with his father’s construction company. Nicholas became a member of the well-trained and experienced Engineer Aviation Battalion. His unit could construct airfields in forward locations, with the ability to repair bomb-damaged airfields, camouflage airfields and if necessary, defend the airfields.
His Engineer Aviation Battalion was a self-contained unit that built airstrips, hangers, and facilities in the Pacific theater of operations. Like Nicholas, most of the soldiers in his Unit were volunteers with construction or engineering experience, and they required little training. Nicholas helped built dozens of air bases in the jungles and on coral islands throughout the Central Pacific.
Aviation Engineer Battalions would construct light-duty airfields and heavy-duty bases with hangers in forward areas, often under Japanese bombing attacks. Nicholas and his fellow engineers, through challenging work, improvisation, and common sense, built forward operating bases and supported multiple amphibious assaults in the Central Pacific "island hopping" campaign.
As the Allies forces advanced, engineers would clear an area of trees or other obstructions, a dirt runway would be leveled, and the engineers would lay pierced steel planking to create an all-weather runway.
After the invasion of Leyte in the Philippines in October 1944, heavy Japanese naval and aerial attacks forced the U.S. Navy to withdraw its Carrier battle groups. The only airpower available to Allied ground forces came from aircraft flying from the airstrips constructed by Nicholas and these Aviation Engineers. These forward airstrips proved vital to the Allied victory in the Pacific.
Nicholas's decorations include the Asiatic-Pacific service medal with 2 Battle stars, the Philippines liberation ribbon with a Bronze Star, the WWII Victory medal, and a Good Conduct medal.