Sgt. Michael DeFebio     

Mil# 20154302

Enlisted: 2 February 1941, Providence, RI

1st Platoon Recon. Company 643rd TD BN.






Born 13 May 1918     Place: Providence, Rhode Island.

Died: 12 April 1945     Place: Barby, Germany. 

Date of Temporary Burial: 18 April 1945   at: American Military Cemetery Margraten (Netherlands)

Location: Plot: FF. Row: 8. Grave: 185.

Date of final Burial: 24 January 1949 at American Military Cemetery Margraten (The Netherlands) 

Location: Plot: E. Row: 2. Grave: 7.


Father: Gaetano DeFebio   Mother: Angelina DeFebio

Last known address: 75 Marshall Street Providence, RI


Sisters: Phyllis, Lucy  and Ann   

Brother: Rocco  and a Half Brother: Ferdinand

Brother-in-Law: Ray Hurlbut

Niece: Joan Michelotti





Purple Heart  -  Bronze Star




On April 12th 1945 around 1500 hours 1st Platoon of the Recon Company 643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion left the hamlet Wespen driving on the secondary road leading east into the city of Barby, just as the Platoon approached almost the outskirts west of Barby three jeeps and two (M8) Armored cars received a heavy burst of fire from out the city outskirts, wounding quite a few men and later proved 5 men were killed, Michael was one of them.


12 April  2011

More photo's of Michael's grave over the years...





07 May 2006

Today I have e-mailed the Adoption Grave foundation to signed up for adoption of a grave at American Military Cemetery Margraten, next day I already received an answer back that my application is received and they soon gone send me the Certificate. I'm curious which grave I get assigned...!!.

18 May 2006

Today received my certificate, the grave I've been assigned to is that of Sgt. Michael DeFebio, Army Registration number 20154302.

He served with the 643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, lived in the State Rhode Island.

My Certificate.


2 July 2006

Today send request for Michael DeFebio's IDPF.


Standard letter completed and sent to address below to obtain Individual Deceased Personnel File of Sgt. Michael DeFebio.




12 July 2006


Today I received acknowledgment of me letter, stating that they gone sent me a copy of Michael's IDPF.



10 August 2006


Today received Michael's IDPF.


There it was a large white envelope... inside Michael's IDPF, I was curious what was in it. The first day I just quickly browsed the documents.

The next days I studied it  from the beginning to the end.


His IDPF covers the period from May 1, 1945 to March 15, 1949 mostly communication between the Army and Michael's wife (Olga DeFebio) and parents (Gaetano en Angelina DeFebio)

I also discovered that Micheal's grave already once was adopted, by a certain Mrs. Ria Merkelbag from the town Heer.  



25 June 2007


Today send request for Michael DeFebio's Personnal Military Record.


Standard letter completed and sent to address below to obtain Personnal Military Records of Sgt. Michael DeFebio.


National Personnel Records Center

Military Personnel Records

9700 Page Avenue

St.Louis, MO 63132-5100




18 July 2007


Today received letter from National Personnel Records Center.


No good news ... the documents I requested were not available anymore, they were lost during a major fire in 1973.

During this fire many documents where destroyed/burned from a period 1912 to 1959




22 October 2007


During my ongoing search for relatives of Michael I came on an internet page of a Committee, that establish a memorial to commemorate all the fallen WW2 soldiers from the US State of Rhode Island. I E-mailed the webmaster and he forwarded my E-mail to John DeFusco with the question if he could help me, the next day I already received an E-mail from John with the message ....Will see what we can find out..!!    



The WWII Memorial under construction




31 October 2007

 This afternoon I received an E-mail from John Defusco that he had spoken with Micheal´s brother-in-law, Ray Hurlbut, who is married with Michael´s sister Lucy.

Also in the E-mail was Ray´s Address, Telephone number and E-mail Address. I was trilled by that message and the same evening I wrote an E-Mail to Ray and Lucy. 



1 November 2007


My first E-mail from Ray and Lucy


Ben:  We were thrilled when John DeFusco called and told us about you.  The thrill was magnified greatly when your email  letter arrived.  We appreciate your adoption of Michael's grave and the photos reminded me of my visit to his grave.
I was in Eindhoven on business in May 1966 and had the chance to go to Margraten on Memorial Day and see the school children at the graves with flowers and witness the fly over. 

I will search our photos and find something of Michael for you.  We have a web site for honoring WW2 vets and you can find a page dedicated to Michael. I am also a WW2 vet but my service was in the U S Navy  as a radioman in Naval Aviation, mostly in Pacific. 

Will let you know when photos have been posted. Sincere regards and thanks from Lucy and me. 

Ray Hurlbut


2 November 2007

Today I received the first pictures.

Michael with his mother Angelina DeFebio.


Ray also forwarded my E-mail to Joan Michelotti  ... She´s Michael´s niece, daughter of Michael´s oldest sister Phyllis.

Ben:  The memorial site does not provide all the information about Michael that is posted.  This link gets you to the page where you can search the registry.

When you click on search the registry there will be places for you to insert Michael's name.  What you get is the official information which you already have.  There is another site but I cannot find how to direct you to it.  I will figure  it out and get that to you.  I will enclose a print out of the site with the photos.  I have sent your first email to Lucy's niece, Mike would be her Uncle,  and lives in Rhode Island.  She was also thrilled and may contact you.  Her name is Joan Michelotti. 

Good bye for now and God Bless you for tending Mike's grave site..........lucy and Ray

That same evening I received an E-mail from Joan Michelotti.


I am a niece of Michael DeFebio, my mother Phyllis DeFebio was his sister.
My name is Joan Michelotti and I live in Warwick, Rhode Island, USA.

Please know how very grateful I am to you for bringing the memory of my Uncle Michael back to me. I was eight years old when I last saw him. He was the most fun loving young boy and brought joy to my life.

You have touched me very deeply with your dedication to his memory that I thought was long forgotten by the world.

There is only one sibling left in the family, Lucy Hurlbut she is 86 years young. The rest of them have passed on. Michael had a half brother named Ferdinand that was a priest he retired and lived in Italy until he died at the age of 96. A brother Rocco who was also in WWII in England he survived and has also died. Ann was the youngest sister and she died at age 70, my mother Phyllis died in 1999 at the age of 86 and they were all wonderful people.

Please advise if there is anything you may need or want.



27 November 2007

Received  several photo´s from John "Michael's name on the wall of the Rhode Island WW2 Memorial" 



8 March 2008

Info (E-Mail) from Bernard "Bernie" Haas, Bernie is the 643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion Historian and lives in Archbold, Ohio.

The information I have about Michael DeFibio is that he was killed at Barby (maybe Barbe) Germany on 12 April, 1945. He was in Recon Company. Recon is an abbreviation for reconaisance. Their job was to proceed ahead of the gun companies searching for the enemy, mines or blown bridges making it necessary to find a different route to get to their destination. They also had some equipment that they could use to mend shell or bomb holes in the road so the destroyers could reach their destinations too. As Defibio's platoon was traveling near Barby, they were ambushed. Six men were killed there just 3 or 4 weeks before Germany surrendered. Barby is near the Elbe River.


12 April 2008

Today it's exactly 63 Years ago that Michael was KIA, so this morning I went to Margraten Cemetery to place flowers. I had Ray and Lucy informed that I would visit Michael's grave today and they asked me to place a bouquet in their name. ... so I did...!!

Picture from that day...!!


22 April 2008

Letter received from The States from a certain Lew Reynolds, name I never heard off, but after reading the letter it showed that he and Michael were riding on the same Armored Car (M8 "Greyhound")  when they ran into that terrible ambusch near Barby, Germany..... Micheal was killed and Lew was wounded and eventually taken to a hospital in Paris.


Received a letter from a friend in the 643rd what caught my attention, Mike DeFibio and I were riding in the Turret of our tank destroyer (I’m still in touch and have been with Merle Robinson who was driving the M8) Mike and I raised up out of the turret and caught a spray of machine-gun fire just a we approached the Elbe river. Mike caught 3 bullets and sank back in his seat. He never Suffered, never moved. I was hit in the fore-head over my right eye. The medics came quickly and I was sent back and eventually to a hospital in Paris (Minor injury-Looked bad-No harm) I hope this information will be helpful.

April 12, 2008 Respectfully, Lew Reynolds


7 June 2009

 4 days visit to Normandy ....In the Visitors Center on Normandy American Military Cemetery I looked up Michael's name in the database.