I was named after my grandfather, Joseph C. Feminella of New Hyde Park, NY.
He was a Corporal with the Company A 747th Tank Battalion during WW II.
He was a Prisoner of War at one time, and he received the European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign Service Medals, the American Campaign Service Medal, the Prisoner of War Medal, the WW II Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
My grandfather never talked about his time in combat, and it was only at his funeral that my dad learned about some of his father’s incredible achievements.
He was part of the task force that hit Omaha beach, and he battled the hedge rows to eventually liberate France. In enemy territory, his Sherman tank was hit by an 88mm shell. He had to bail out, and fought hand-to-hand with German infantry soldiers before one of them put a bullet in him.
Shot in the leg, he was captured and was taken to a German prison camp.
While he was at the camp, he noticed that the Germans treated the enlisted Jewish soldiers very poorly, and that they were actually starving to death. My grandfather risked his life every day, by hiding and sneaking his food to the Jewish prisoners.
When the Russian units finally liberated the camp, he had to endure a long, terrible march to freedom.
I guess that it was my grandfather’s legacy that inspired me to acquire a 1911. He carried one while he fought overseas, in the service of his country.
You might say my 1911 .45 pistol gives me a sense of history. It’s also a tribute to the fighting men who once carried it.
SERGEANT ALVIN YORK
Apart from hearing about my grandfather’s exploits, I had also read about soldiers like Sergeant Alvin York, who received the Medal of Honor for leading the attack on German machine gun nests in France during World War I.
In this unforgettable episode, Sgt. York killed 28 German soldiers, captured 35 machine guns, and took 132 German soldiers prisoner.
At one point during the battle, Sgt. York ran out of bullets for his rifle, and was charged by six German soldiers with fixed bayonets. He simply drew his .45 pistol and shot all six of them, effectively halting their charge.
MASTER SERGEANT ERNEST R. KOUMA
Msgt. Kouma, on the other hand, was in charge of a tank detachment in Agok during the Korean War.
From his position across the Naktong River, he and his armored vehicles took it upon themselves to prevent North Korean troops from building a pontoon bridge across the river, and from getting to the American-held side in their small boats.
Master Sergeant Kouma achieved this feat by holding the enemy off with his Pershing tank’s .50-caliber machine gun and, when the ammunition for his machine gun ran out, he used hand grenades and his .45 pistol to prevent the enemy from overrunning his position.
He did all this in spite of being shot twice.
It is estimated that he was responsible for the death of over 250 North Korean soldiers on that single day.
For his actions, Msgt. Kouma was awarded the Medal of Honor, and the Purple Heart.
So you see, the .45 pistol is the stuff of which legends are made.
All other sidearms produced since, have had to measure up to this pistol—and few do, even today.
When I got my own 1911 pistol, I decided to customize it to make it my own. I wrapped my grips in desert camouflage, and the pistol looked awesome.
It was also a blast to shoot!
The only problem I discovered was that the .45 ACP round is unbearably loud. It’s all right at the range when you’re wearing ear protection, but the thought of double-tapping a home invader in my hallway at home seemed quite horrible, to me.
In the end, I decided that as a home defense pistol, it was not the best choice, and I eventually traded this pistol for my friend’s AK47. He really wanted my 1911, and I had already decided that a full size 9mm was the way to go.
For the meantime, I have replaced it with the Canik Tp9V2 but, when the time comes, I intend to get another 1911 .45 ACP.