Mississippi native’s WWII memoirs published in ‘“Snippy”: Promise Made, Promise Kept’
Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 16, 2023
Several years after retirement, the late Fielding Tucker, a Vicksburg native, began the process of organizing his memoirs of World War II; intended for inclusion in a book to be published in honor of World War II soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Fielding had completed all his memoirs of WWII and carefully organized them along with his personal sketches, photos, and comments on how he wanted the book to be completed prior to falling ill with terminal cancer. Fielding passed away in July of 2009 before the book was completed.
As a promise to Fielding, his son Ed Tucker completed Fielding’s book and submitted it for publication. Now published, the book is titled “Snippy” Promise Made, Promise Kept.
During several trips to France, Fielding, his wife Marie, and Ed were fortunate to talk with numerous survivors of WWII, including French villagers befriended by Fielding during the war, former French resistance fighters, villagers who were forced into manual labor by the German army and a former German SS soldier forced into Hitler’s youth group and later as a combat soldier.
The book begins with Fielding’s life as a teenager roaming the hills of Vicksburg, pulling pranks at St. Aloysius College, dating, and working part-time at the Vicksburg newspaper where influences by WWI veterans on the staff turned his attention to World War II. Still a teenager, Fielding enters WWII and experiences all the worst of the war, including hand-to-hand combat and the loss of nearly all his comrades that began this journey with Fielding.
Of the soldiers that accompanied Fielding to Maddaloni, Italy for mountain training and battles throughout Italy and later battles in France and Germany, only few would survive the war. Because he stayed in touch with surviving veterans, Fielding and Ed we were able to talk with them regarding the events detailed within the book. They were eager to confirm Fielding’s memoirs of battles and events during the war and contributed additional details.
“Snippy” Promise Made, Promise Kept is published by Newman Springs Publishing (www.newmansprings.com) and distributed by Ingram Books, the largest worldwide distributor of books. The book is available in hardback, paperback, and eBook. It has only recently been released for distribution and retailers are still in the process of adding the book, but is now available through major book retailers such as Amazon, EBay, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Wal-Mart, Powell Books, Hudson Books, etc. The book has also been released to European and Asian countries; currently found on Italian, French and Japanese websites.
About the Author
Fielding was a native of Vicksburg and worked at the Vicksburg Evening Post part-time before departing for World War II in Europe. He was a former Production Superintendent of the Natchez Democrat.
After an attempt to enlist in the navy at 17 and being disqualified by his parents, Fielding Tucker entered service in the army at age eighteen to begin a journey throughout Italy, France & Germany during the horrors of World War II. As a youthful teenager, Fielding experienced much more than he anticipated during WWII with memories that would never fade.
Fielding joined Company I, 143rd Regiment of the Thirty-sixth Division in Maddaloni, Italy. There they received mountain training and amphibious training to prepare for a landing in Anzio, Italy, where they would join the battle for Italy and the invasion of France that would follow later. By the end of the war, Fielding and only a few of his original comrades would survive the bitter battles that waged from the mountains of Italy through the villages of France and Germany.
Fielding entered battle for the first time near Velletri, Italy, assigned as the BAR Team, carrying a .30 caliber automatic weapon. After the invasion of France, their division was assigned to the Seventh Army, and Fielding was assigned to the bazooka team, taking out German tanks threatening U.S. lines. He was later assigned as Company Scout with a Thompson machine gun as his weapon of choice. During the war, Fielding and his platoon used every battle technique taught in basic training, including hand-to-hand combat with bayonets when their campsite was overrun by German troops.
Fielding was awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, a Presidential Citation, and additional medals of honor. Later in life, Fielding also received the French Legion of Honor award designated by the president of France.
During the liberation of Rome, Italy, Fielding mounted a weapons carrier moving through the city. As they passed the ancient coliseum, GIs were greeted by crowds who waved American flags and offered wine, fresh water, and fruits.
Fielding joined a select group of GIs allowed a visit with Pope Pius XII at St. Peter’s Basilica. They received a souvenir of the visit from the pope and a tour of the Basilica.
At the ending of WWII, while assigned as guardians of the infamous Landsberg Prison, Fielding and his platoon witnessed the cruel brutality of German SS Troops as they discovered boxcars filled with dead Jewish prisoners. Fielding stood in Hitler’s steam-heated cell and noted that Hitler was treated as a special prisoner as he wrote Mein Kampf during his incarceration.
Fielding shared a jug of wine with Mickey Rooney who entertained troops along with Marlene Deitrich as the war neared an ending.
Fielding and Thirty-Sixth Division GIs stayed overnight in Heinrich Himmler’s summer home and listened to VE Day on Himmler’s radio. Himmler was referred to as “Hitler’s hatchet man”.
Fielding is survived by 8 children: Ed Tucker of Natchez, Diana Hinson and Becky Ferguson of Vidalia, LA, Janie Reyes of Ferriday, LA, Kathy D’Antoni, Mary Ann Eagle and Tony Tucker of Lake Charles, LA, Danny Tucker of Pollack, LA, 19 grandchildren, 48 great grandchildren and 16 great-great grandchildren, all living within Mississippi and Louisiana.