Negra, Andy

Andy Negra was born May 28, 1924.  He grew up in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as the family dealt with the realities of the Great Depression.  They ended up in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, where Andy’s father was a coal miner.  Andy graduated from high school there, the first in his family to do so.  As he put it, Andy grew up “on the wrong side of the tracks”, but he had a good childhood, full of friends and sports.  Andy was at the movies when he learned of Pearl Harbor, and 2 weeks later he received his letter to report for duty.  He went to Fort Bragg and learned how to be a soldier, and from there he reported to Fort Meade, and it was there that he met Viola.  The two hit it off, but it was a brief encounter as Andy headed north to New York, and the troop ship that would take him overseas to Wales, where he was by now attached to the 6th Armoured Division, 128th Field Artillery.  They spent some time in England, and soon enough it was their turn to cross the Channel, to support the troops as they moved inland in France.  The 6th turned to the west and took the Cotentin Peninsula, including the city of Brest.  From there they turned south and east, cleaning up the western coast of France and then crossing the heart of France all the way through to Nancy, Metz and Bastogne, where they became involved in the Battle of the Bulge.  Once the Germans were pushed back, the 6th followed them across the Rhine and past the Siegfried Line, and the war ended in Germany for Andy a few months later.  He served in the Army of Occupation for a time, but was back in Brownsville by Christmas 1945.  He reconnected with Viola, and the two of them built a life together.  Scott Masters interviewed Andy Negra over zoom in April 2021, and we thank Pete Mecca for facilitating this introduction and helping us to add to our American veterans on the Crestwood Oral History Project.