Ralph A. Mottola is a highly decorated World Word II Army veteran and former Prisoner of War (POW) who served from 1943 to 1945 with Company H, 141st Infantry Regiment of the 36th Infantry Division. For the past 20 years, he has been selflessly assisting fellow POWs as a federal Veterans Affairs volunteer at the Ex-Prisoner of War Brooklyn “Key” Chapter of the of New York Harbor Healthcare System.
A born and bred Brooklynite, Mr. Mottola served as an anti-tank gun crewman in Morocco, Algeria and Italy before being captured at the Battle of Cassino, Italy, on January 22, 1944. From there, he was put into a boxcar for a five day trip to Germany where, after a few days at Stalag 4B, he was sent to East Prussia with 47 other GIs. Beginning on January 28th, Mr. Mottola was forced-marched until May 3, 1945, when he was liberated in Mirow, Germany by an American anti-tank platoon. His group was flown to LeHarve, France to “fatten up with the most fabulous food,” and the next month he finally arrived back at Camp Patrick Henry, VA, the same camp from which he departed the US.
He was honorably discharged in October 1945 and later attended the Academy of Advanced Traffic Management in Manhattan. After a 31-year career with Allied Chemical & Dye, Mr. Mottola retired in 1986. For his military career, Mr. Mottola earned the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantry Badge, as well as numerous ribbons, including the Middle Eastern Ribbon with three battle stars and the American Theatre Ribbon.