Roland Joseph Champagne


Private First Class, WWII

96th Infantry




"It was time to really grow up now. Combat made us all grow up fast - too fast for most of us. Though we would become men who were far removed from our childhoods, we would always remember fondly those times with our families and friends. I still do." Roland Champagne

The Story of Roland Champagne

Click Pic to Download Roland's Childhood Memory Book




One time Roland's father made sure he shook the hand of a large man named Jack Johnson, Later he was surprised to learn THAT man was the Heavy Weight Champion of the World.
Click on any image on this page for a Larger picture

Roland Champagne was born September 3, 1924 in Lawrence, Massachusets to Gedeon and Eva Champagne. His father was a carpenter and a general handiman. His mother stayed at home to raise the children

Roland was the oldest of four children. Lucille was his sister, and Gene and Louis were his younger brothers.

During his childhood Roland loved horses and trains. It was a big deal for him to go to Boston on a steam locomotive with his Uncle Oscar, and a group of neighborhood kids to watch the Red Sox.

Roland also loved the circus! It cost 85 cents for a ticket back then.

Roland's son Mark likes this picture because he says his dad folded his arms this way all his life.


During the height of the depression he was given the responsiblity of standing in line to pick up his family's ration of meat.

Roland was very proud that he went to these schools: St. Anne's and Central Catholic High School.

He was drafted into the army on June 17, 1943

Roland and his fellow schoolmates who were drafted in their senior year of high school, were all given two week deferments so they could graduate.



Military Service
Roland's Induction Papers

Roland's initial training took place at Ft. Devens, and then from there he was in aviation cadet training for the Army Air Corps at Keesler Field in Mississippi. Then, after being accepted into the ASTP he went to Lake Forest College outside of Chicago. When they disbanded the program, he hooked up with the 96th Infantry at Camp White, Oregon.



The ship to the Phillipines

Okinawa is taken!

Certificate of Immunizations\

Individual Certification of Medical Clearance

Roland left Saipan on November 30, 1945 on an old ship speeding along at seven knots. During strong seas it would only make five knots per hour. He was seasick from all the diesel exhaust. He didn't make it to Los Angeles until December 21, 1945.

He left California by train at 2:30 am on Christmas Day to Lawrence, Massachusetts. He was discharged at 3:00 pm on New Years Day.

Thirty girls from Central Catholic High School welcomed the returning soldiers with a dance.

Roland sent this telegram when he reached California on December 20, 1945.

Roland Champagne: My Combat Years

Life after War

When Roland returned from the war he moved to New York city and worked for various airlines including National Airlines and TWA. He was able to make a trip to Havana, Cuba, before Castro took over the island.

In 1957 he moved to Los Angelos where he met his future wife soon thereafter. They both had joined a church for singles over thirty. They were married on January 31, 1959 in Long Beach, California. They started their family with children Delores, Carlos, and Roderick.

They added to their family of five when Roland Mark Champagne was born in July, 1959. Renee was born in November of 1961, and then another brother, Robert was born in November of 1963.

It was a big family of eight.

At this time he began working for the racetracks as a cashier in California including Hollywood Park, Santa Anita, Del Mar, Los Alamitos,and at the Los Angelos county fair in Pomona.


Even at 90 Roland remained proud of his days with the 96th Infantry as a Deadeye.


Champagne visited the WWII Memorial with his son Robert in 1998.


Deadeye, Roland Joseph Champagne


Interred March 31, 2014 at Arlington National Cemetery Section 60, Grave 10912

96th Infantry Division 382 Infantry K Company

Leyte     Okinawa

Purple Heart May 22, 1945


The video of this beautiful military funeral service at Arlington National Cemetary may be seen by clicking HEREThe password is  Myhero.

  To email Roland Mark Champagne use this address: peacecorpsguy@hotmail.com or Click Here




Roland Champagne

Photo Album

This ambulance driver in Paris was Roland's father, Gedeon Champagne

Parents' Wedding, Eva Beaulieu and Gedeon, 1923


Home in Lawrence, MA where Roland Champagne was born

Roland at 13 months 1925
Young Roland with sister, Lucille
Shoveling Snow 1928

Winter 1932



Roland, on Furlough in Uniform before shipping out, with Family, 1944

Roland with three of his kids, Mark, Robert and Renee at SeaWorld 1966


Roland home for his sister's high school graduation.



Roland Mark and Roland Joseph 2013

Thanksgiving Day, 2014

Wife Mary, Roland Mark, Roland Joseph, Renee, Robert Champagne