Frank William Addante was born in Triaggo, Citta Metropolitana di Bari, Puglia, Italy, on January 18, 1899,1 to William Addante, mother’s name unknown. No other information could be found on his life before joining the military.
Frank served in the Marine Corps during WWI, enlisting November 3, 1916. He was attached to Company E, Marine Barracks, Port Royal, South Carolina, and listed on the muster roll in November 19162 and in January 1917.3 On March 3, 1917, Frank deserted from the marine barracks, Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts, in the evening.4 On March 16, Frank surrendered himself and was confined awaiting trial.5 In April, he was tried by general court martial (GCM), Navy Yard, NY, and found guilty of desertion and sentenced to a one-year confinement and then to be dishonorably discharged. The confinement was remitted as was the dishonorable discharge with the condition that he maintain a record satisfactory to his commanding officer for a period of one year. He was released from confinement and returned to duty on probation.6 In June 1917, Frank was transferred to 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.7
Frank was serving with 16th Co., 5th Marines in France, when he was killed in action on June 7, 1918.8 He was a private from Marcus, Washington.
The unit was activated on June 8, 1917, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the 5th Regiment of Marines. They deployed immediately to France, arriving on June 26, and were assigned to the 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. In October, they were reassigned to the 4th Brigade of Marines under the 2nd Infantry Division.
In spring 1918, the regiment was involved in the fierce battle of Belleau Wood.9 At 5 p.m. on June 6, the 3rd Battalions of the 5th and 6th Marines advanced through a waist-high wheat field into machine gun fire and into Belleau Wood as part of the second phase of the Allied offensive. The first waves of Marines were slaughtered, and the major of the 5th was wounded in the forearm. On his right, the Marines of 3/6 Battalion swept into southern Belleau Wood and encountered heavy machine gun fire, sharpshooters, and barbed wire. Marines and German infantrymen engaged in hand-to-hand fighting. The casualties sustained on this day were the highest in Marine Corps history up to that date. Some 31 officers and 1,056 men of the Marine brigade were casualties. But now, the Marines had a foothold in Belleau Wood.
The battle was a deadlock. At midnight on June 7-8, a German attack was stopped and an American counterattack in the morning of June 8 was similarly defeated. The 3/6 battalion sustained nearly 400 casualties and was relieved by the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines. A new major took over the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines for the wounded major. On June 9, an enormous American and French barrage devastated Belleau Wood. The Germans counter-fired into Lucy and Bouresches and then reorganized.
In April of 1920, The Spokesman Review reported that 66 Marines from the state of Washington lost their lives in WWI, including Frank, according to an official list from the adjutant general.10 Frank’s father was listed as William Addante.
Frank was originally buried in grave #2, plot 62 Myers, 500 meters from Lucy-le Bocage, on Lucy Torcy Road in France. He was disinterred June 3, 1919, and reburied at American City, Belleau, Aisne.11 His body was again disinterred July 16, 1921, and arrived in Antwerp July 23. He was then shipped to Hoboken, New Jersey, on the ship Wheaton, arriving August 20. The body was shipped one month later to the National Cemetery at Rock Island, arriving on September 23, 1921.
Nearly a year after the armistice the War Department announced in October 1919 that it would survey each of the fallen’s families. They could choose to bring home the remains of their loved one or have them buried in newly created American military cemeteries in Europe. Ballots were sent to nearly 80,000 families.12
In late 1920, the French lifted their ban on the return of bodies. The United States spent the next two years and more than $30 million recovering its dead. The remains of 46,000 soldiers were returned to their families in the States, and another 30,000 were laid to rest in military cemeteries in Europe.