Antone Porta Jr. (1918/07/19)
An Aptos Druid fell at the Marne.
Antone Porta Jr. was born on October. 25, 1887, in Aptos, California, to Mr. and Mrs. Antone Porta, Sr. Antone, along with his brother Baptista and sisters Katherina and Angelina, grew up on the family ranch in Aptos and attended the local school. Following his school years, Antone continued to farm in the area and became an active member of the Santa Cruz Grove of Druids fraternal society.
Porta's World War I introduction to the army occurred on June 5, 1917, when he registered for the draft. Records of the period described him as being of medium height and build with black hair and brown eyes, and noted that he had suffered from a rupture. His request for draft deferment to support his parents was denied and he was among the first of the Santa Cruz County men inducted into the army.
After basic training, Private Porta was assigned to the 59th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division. His unit moved to Camp Mills, New York on April 30, 1918, and was shipped to France on May 23. Porta's unit may have been among those aboard the SS Moldavia when it was torpedoed by a U-boat off the English coast and lost 56 men.
Upon arrival in France Porta received a two to three month training period in trench warfare before being trans- ported to the front. The history of Private Porta's division at the time of his death noted.
“July 18-22, Div (less Arty) participates in the Aisne- Marne Operation. July 19, 59th Inf attacks, captures Bois de Cassel, Bois de l'Orme, Bois de Leipzig, and reaches the line, Courchamps, Bois de Leipzig, 1 km west of Sommelans.”
On November 14, 1918 Antone Porta, Sr. received a telegram from the war department informing him that his son, who had been previously reported as missing in action was killed in action on July 19, 1918. Private Antone Porta Jr. was buried in the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France.
(CAG; WWIDR; ABMC; SCSn November 17, 1918 5:5; WRP November 18, 1918 2:2, US Army Center of Military History, 4th Div [RA] Record of Events, http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwi/ob/4-ROE-OB.htm, [16 September 2008])