Francis P. Markuns (#31368365)


Picture taken August, 2011
Place of Birth
Date of Birth

Boston, Massachusetts
March 21, 1925

329th Infantry
83rd Infantry

Born as the son of Charles and Anna Grigas Markuns on March 21, 1925, he was raised with siblings Alice, Albert and Lucy.
Francis P. Markuns, the son of Lithuanian immigrants and lifelong resident of South Boston, Massachusetts, was called up to the Army in July 1943 at age 18, just after graduating from South Boston High School. Originally assigned to the 63rd Infantry Division, he began his training at Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi, qualifying on the BAR. Midway through training, however, he moved to the 83rd, which, according to Francis, was a “hot outfit … just coming up to full strength.” He joined the 83rd at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, became part of G Company, 329th Regiment, and re-qualified on the BAR. From Breckenridge, it was a short stay at Camp Shanks, New York, and then a departure from New York harbor aboard the troop ship HMS Samaria as part of a massive convoy, with a final destination in Wales. Training continued in Wales, and Francis was in the middle of a field exercise in early June when they received orders that the 83rd was to join the fight.
He arrived with the 83rd at Omaha. A day after his arrival he moved from assistant to lead BAR. He fought in the hedgerows and was part of the July 4th action in the “swamp” near Sainteny. He fought at St. Malo and at the Citadel and remained with his company until after Angers. He then developed a bad infection that puffed up the side of his face. He was sent back to England for 2-3 weeks. After he recovered, it took him a while to catch up again with the 83rd (essentially he was part of a group who figured out a way to be returned to the 83rd out of a replacement pool outside of Bastogne). He rejoined his company and platoon before the 83rd liberated Echternach, Luxembourg. He fought in the Hurtgen and was wounded on or about December 17 in Duren, Germany. He was evacuated from a field hopsital in Liege just after the breakthrough, first to Paris and then on to England and finally stateside. After multiple operations and several months, he was honorably discharged.
While convalescing before discharge, he met his wife Virginia. Francis attended Wentworth Institute on the GI bill and landed a job with Manton Gaulin Corporation, where he worked as a machine operator for his entire career. Francis and Virginia married in May 1949, and his son John was born in February 1950, followed over the next 11 years by four more children, two boys and two girls. After Francis’s retirement, his family continued to grow, starting with his first grandchild, Jeffrey Francis, first son of John. Francis had another 8 grandchildren, and now 8 great grandchildren, the most recent being Jeffrey’s and his wife Kim’s school age children, adopted in Lithuania in late May of this year …

At the Reunion in West Point Francis "Franky" Markuns told me the following story

"We were the first to liberate the town of Echternach. That means for the very first time, before the Battle of the Bulge. I was with my squad doing patrols when we discovered a store that still had lots of boxes champagne inside. Off course we did our job and 'liberated' some of the best quality boxes and took them to our house where we were stationed. On the ceiling we had painted a crosshair and we would take turns to grab a bottle of one of the boxes and open it. When we opened it, the cork would shoot away and we would aim for the bullseye. If we missed that bullseye, we didn't mind and just drank that bottle. If we did hit the bullseye that soldier would take another bottle and do the whole thing all over again. We had lots of fun. But it didn't last long. The next day, so after the action, the important officers came into town and we were to sleep outside in our foxholes again so everything returned to the everyday live of a GI. Off course champange (alcoholic beverages) and stores like the one we found were now out of bounds. And you won't be surprised if I tell you the officers were now stationed in houses and drinking champagne. But after all, we did had some of the best stuff!"