Rudolph Joseph Supina
August 8, 1899 – December 9, 1954
by Joyce Supina Maddaloni
Born in Budapest, Hungary, the oldest of eleven children born to Johanna Valasic and Thomas Supina, Sr.
In his youth Rudolph immigrated to the United States (Ellis Island) with his mother and two siblings, Walter and Elizabeth. The Supina family first lived in New York and Pennsylvania prior to moving to Ashford Connecticut. It was in Westford Connecticut that the family lived and farmed. Rudolph was schooled in Ashford and Stafford Springs.
As time passed and the Supina family grew, times were hard for the family. Now just a teenager, Rudolph decided to leave school and quietly leave home without telling his parents and join the Army in order to help support his siblings.
On June 22, 1916 Rudolph enlisted in the U.S.Army. He was now 16 years and 10 months of age. Even in those years the required age for enlistment in the Armed Forces was 18. Rudolph was well aware of this requirement and thus lied on his enlistment papers and reported that he was born in Akron Ohio on February 19, 1895 making him 21 years and 4 months of age…In reality Rudolph was born in Budapest Hungary on August 8, 1899.
The story that has been told by Rudolph’s sibling recalls that Rudolph told his brother Walter where he was going when he went to enlist and told Walter to keep it a secret. Walter was to tell their parents Johanna and Thomas where Rudolph was after he had been gone a while. Rudolph’s sister Angelina recalled that when Walter told their mother where Rudolph went, their mother Johanna embarked on writing letters to Washington telling the U.S. Army that Rudolph was under age and requested he be released from the military.
Johanna was determined to bring Rudolph home and was successful. In March of 1917 Rudolph was released from the Army, by then Rudolph had served 1 year and 3 months prior to his discharge.
Rudolph came home to the Supina Homestead in Westford and barely 2 months passed when Rudolph once again decided to re-enlist in the military. On May 30, 1917 Rudolph re-enlisted in the Army at Hartford Connecticut at the age of 17 years and 9 months; however, he continued to provide erroneous information on his enlistment papers and once again reported his birth date as February 19, 1895 and birthplace as Akron Ohio.
Rudolph’s Army service record denotes that he served 1 year, 1 month and 26 days of Foreign Service. He was in battle engagements, skirmishes and expeditions in the St. Die and Pouvenelle sectors at St. Mihiel with the Army Infantry Offensive. Rudolph received a Victory Medal with the St. Mihiel Defense Sector for his service.
Rudolph received an honorable discharge from the U.S.Army on July 29, 1919.
Two Rudys, John, Steven, Kenneth Chernusek
Rudolph in Guantanamo
Rudolph&Emil Palkovic Making Hay
Rudolph with Peacock