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ITALIAN AMERICANS IN WORLD WAR II

During World War II, an estimated 1.2 million Americans of Italian descent served in the U.S. military, constituting one of the largest segments of the US combat forces of about 12 million. However, elderly Italian mothers and fathers were not allowed to visit sons in the U.S. armed forces, who were assigned to military installations.

Shortly after the United States declared war on Italy in 1941, the federal government classified more than 600,000 Italians living in the United States as "internal enemies." Despite the difficulties they faced, including the chance of having to fight against Italians, countless Italian Americans received decorations for bravery, fourteen of whom received the Medal of Honor.

JOHN BASILONE

Rank and organization: Sergeant, United States Marine Corps, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division

Date and place of action: 24 and 25 October 1942, Lunga Area, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands

Entered service at: New Jersey

Date and place of birth: 4 November 1916, Buffalo, New York

 

VITO R. BERTOLDO

Rank and organization: Master Sergeant, United States Army, Company A, 242nd Infantry, 42nd Infantry Division

Date and place of action: 9 and 10 January 1945, Hatten, France

Entered service at: Decatur, Illinois

Date and place of birth: 1 December 1916, Decatur, Illinois

 

WILLIBALD C. BIANCHI

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, United States Army, 45th Infantry Regiment (PS), Philippine Scouts

Date and place of action: 3 February 1942, near Bagac, Bataan Province, Philippine Islands

Entered service at: New Ulm, Minnesota

Date and place of birth: New Ulm, Minnesota

 

ANTHONY CASAMENTO

Rank and organization: Corporal, United States Marine Corps, Company D, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division

Date and place of action: 1 November 1942, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands

Entered service at: Brooklyn, New York

Date and place of birth: 16 November 1920, Brooklyn, New York

 

RALPH CHELI

Rank and organization: Major, United States Army Air Corps

Date and place of action: 18 August 1943, near Wewak, New Guinea

Entered service at: Brooklyn, New York

Date and place of birth: San Francisco, California

 

JOSEPH J. CICCHETTI

Rank and organization: Private First Class, United States Army, Company A, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division

Date and place of action: 9 February 1945, south Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands

Entered service at: Waynesburg, Ohio

Date and place of birth: Waynesburg, Ohio

 

MIKE COLALILLO

Rank and organization: Private First Class, United States Army, Company C, 398th Infantry, 100th Infantry Division

Date and place of action: 7 April 1945, near Untergriesheim, Germany

Entered service at: Duluth, Minnesota

Date and place of birth: Hibbing, Minnesota

 

PETER J. DALESSONDRO

Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant, United States Army, Company E, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division

Date and place of action: 22 December 1944, near Kalterherberg, Germany

Entered service at: Watervliet, New York

Date and place of birth: 19 May 1918, Watervliet, New York

 

ANTHONY P. DAMATO

Rank and organization: Corporal, United States Marine Corps

Date and place of action: 19 and 20 February 1944, Engebi Island, Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands

Entered service at: Pennsylvania

Date and place of birth: 28 March 1922, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania

 

ARTHUR F. DEFRANZO

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, United States Army, 1st Infantry Division

Date and place of action: 10 June 1944, near Vaubadon, France

Entered service at: Saugus, Massachusetts

Date and place of birth: Saugus, Massachusetts

 

GINO J. MERLI

Rank and organization: Private First Class, United States Army, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division

Date and place of action: 4 and 5 September 1944, near Sars la Bruyere, Belgium

Entered service at: Peckville, Pennsylvania

Date and place of birth: Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

FRANK J. PETRARCA

Rank and organization: Private First Class, United States Army, Medical Detachment, 145th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division

Date and place of action: 27 July 1943, Horseshoe Hill, New Georgia, Solomon Islands

Entered service at: Cleveland, Ohio

Date and place of birth: Cleveland, Ohio

 

ROBERT M. VIALE

Second Lieutenant, United States Army, Company K, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division

Date and place of action: 5 February 1945, Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands

Entered service at: Ukiah, California

Date and place of birth: Bayside, California

 

SOURCE:

NIAF

Wikipedia