1LT Harry Rudolph (Rudy) Albright
Company A, 337th Infantry, 85th Division
Killed in Action 12 May, 1944, Minturno, Italy
-- Gail Albright Brown --
I'm a lucky woman - I had a loving mother and two wonderful dads. Pierce Butler Watson, who married my mother
when I was four, is the one who helped raise me, until he died when I was a junior in high school.
Harry Rudolph Albright - the father I never knew - gave me life. My parents never let me forget "Daddy Rudy",
as my mother referred to him. She didn't talk about him a lot, but it wasn't a closed subject either. His
pictures were always available to me, and she kept his things - some caps, the flag, the Purple Heart, the
newspaper clippings, a few letters - in a small square box, the one in which the flag was sent.
I will never forget my mother's telling me how she found out about his death. She had been dismissed from
the hospital, following my birth, and had gone into town to the drugstore. This was also the telegraph office,
and the telegram came in while she was there. Apparently the clerk did not know my mother, for she said,
"Oh, here's another death", and read out my father's name, in my mother's hearing. Stunned, she returned to
the farm, to await the delivery of the telegram. "How did you do it, Mom?," I used to ask her. "I just did,"
I don't think my mother ever really got over his death. Even though she was very loving, she was never really
able to share herself completely with me, or allow me to witness her true emotions. I don't think I ever saw
her cry. Perhaps if she had lived longer - she died in 1973 - we would have been able to talk about her life
with my father and what their dreams were. Even so, with what Mom and my father's sister have told me, along
with the research I've done, I do have some details of his life, and am beginning to know the wonderful man my
Born in Newburgh, New York, to Winifred Sarah and Adelbert Albright, 27 November 1915, Rudy had a happy early
childhood, with his younger sister Muriel. Following the deaths of their parents - his father to a heart attack
when he was 13, and his mother to breast cancer two years later, their Uncle Harry assumed their guardianship,
taking them to live with him, in Shaker Heights, OH.
He was graduated from Shaker Heights High School, in 1932. Until he joined the Ohio National Guard, in 1940, he
attended Fenn College, worked at Republic Steel Mill, and was a faithful member of Fairmount Presbyterian Church,
in Shaker Heights.
My mother, Winifred Joy Kolberg, grew up on her parents' dairy farm in Eagle Lake, Texas, but she spent several
summers in Shaker Heights, with her mother's sister's family. It was there that she met her future husband, and
there that they were married, 25 February 1942.
By that time, Daddy Rudy had spent nearly two years in training with the 135th Field Artillery, 37th Division, at
Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Instead of remaining with the group with which he trained, he was assigned to the 417th
Infantry, 76th Division, and continued training at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he was graduated from Officer Corps
Training School, 2 June 1942, as a First Lieutenant. Other camps where he trained were Fort McCoy, Wisconsin and
Fort Meade, Maryland.
In February of 1944, my father brought my mother, 7 months pregnant with me, to her parents' home in Texas. He
shipped out 3 March 1944, arriving in Naples, 29 March 1944, when he was assigned as a Pool Officer, to Personnel
Center #9. On 20 April 1944, the day before I was born, he was assigned as a platoon leader to Company A, 337th
Infantry, 85th Division, and was moved north to a location near Minturno, Italy, in preparation for the assault
on the Gustav Line.
The Minturno Breakout began at 11 p.m., 11 May 1944, uphill, against a well-entrenched and fortified German Army.
My father's assignment was to lead his platoon in taking Colle San Martino, or Hill #69. This is where his body
was found, with a heavy artillery wound in his right thigh, a few days later. His death was estimated to have
occurred 12 May 1944. Our troops were ultimately successful in routing the Germans, and the 5th Army marched
into Rome, 4 June 1944.
My father is one of 7,862 Americans buried in the Sicily-Rome Cemetery, Nettuno, Italy. In May, 2000, I will be
privileged to attend the Memorial Day ceremony there, and to visit his grave for the first time.
I'm a lucky woman because of the people who have loved me - my Daddy Rudy who gave his life so that his family
could live in a free world; my mother who gave me unconditional love and support; my grandparents who gave us a
home and security when we needed it; my second daddy who adopted me but graciously allowed my Albright to remain
part of my legal name; my husband, son, and daughter who patiently support my research and listen to what I find;
and my Lord Jesus Christ, who loves me most of all.
I'm also lucky because I found AWON, and a whole new family with siblings who understand what it's like to grow up
without knowing the men who gave us life. I always wanted brothers and sisters, and now I have more than I can