by Brian Manning
WALSENBURG- Silvano Bobian is one of our very own amongst the Greatest Generation. Born in Walsenburg in 1926 to Alfred and Agatha Bobian, who were also both born in Walsenburg, he had five brothers and one sister. After attending school, Bobian went to work with his father growing sugar beets and later found a job working on the railroad.
In 1944, at the young age of 18, he went into the army and was sent to Fort Hood, Texas for basic training. After boot camp, before embarking to Europe, he hopped off the train in Pueblo long enought to marry his sweetheart, Mary Pesina.
She was only 17 and could only marry with her father’s permission, of which he would not consent. They decided to elope and had two days before Silvano had to return to his unit in Denver.
From Denver, the unit flew to Chicago and then New York where they boarded the Queen Elizabeth to cross the Atlantic.
In Europe, he was assigned to the 12th Armored Division which was always sent ahead of all other units. From France they headed for Germany and were about to cross the Rhine River when they found themselves surrounded by German troops. They had to wait for air cover to help them advance.
His unit then made it to the outskirts of Berlin just before Hitler killed himself. They were then sent to South Africa where, as the war was winding down, his unit captured 7,000 German prisoners. Bobian himself captured eight Germans.
At this point, his unit returned to France just as they were to be sent to the Pacific to fight the Japanese. Fortunately for them, the war ended when the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, what men in the armed forces called a “lucky strike.”
Bobian’s returned to America on a cargo ship was very rough but his career in the army proved he had survived the war without being injured even though he had been shot at many times. He earned several medals including two Bronze Stars, campaign medals, good conduct, marksman, and others.
When he returned to Walsenburg, he settled down with Mary to raise a family finding work in a Swift meatpacking plant. He and his wife Mary had ten children, and now they have 65 grandchildren, 102 great-grandchildren and 22 great-great-grand-grandchildren. One can imagine what their family reunions are like.
Today Bobian and his wife keep busy working around the house. He stays fit (he can still fit into his army uniform) and loves to work in the garden. Silvano Bobian is an example of a Walsenburg hero that stepped up when his country needed him.
Wins over 20 awards at the annual Colorado Press Association convention, including General Excellence for the second year in a row World Journal Staff Report