Ask the Expert

Drawing a bead on a vintage enemy rifle

Visitors to the Italian American Veterans Museum often comment on the rifle we feature in our Souvenirs of War exhibit. It’s a weapon brought back from World War II by U.S. Army Pfc. John Filetti and graciously donated to our museum. This vintage firearm is a Japanese Type 38 rifle in caliber 6.5 mm. These were adopted by the Japanese […]
Read More

WW II’s version of emails from the front

One of the most important events in military life is mail from home! This is never more crucial than in time of war, with troops serving overseas and in harm’s way. The effect mail has on morale can often be the difference between success and failure. With millions of US troops overseas during WW ll, delivery of the mail was […]
Read More

Why does that helmet look so familiar?

After using the same helmet through three major wars and for more than 40 years, the U.S. Armed Forces made a radical switch in the early ’80s. That’s when they introduced the Personal Armor System for Ground Troops, or PASGT helmet. Molded from a more shrapnel-resistant Kevlar, as opposed to steel, the new combat headgear offered additional protection by covering […]
Read More

Targeting an iconic sidearm

Perhaps the most recognizable and iconic pistol of all time is the Pistole Parabellum, or German P 08, commonly referred to as the Luger. Originally developed by Austrian gun designer George Luger in 1898, it was adopted by the German Military in 1908, hence the nomenclature “P” for Pistole and “08” for the year. A true testimony to German engineering, […]
Read More

Long-forgotten souvenirs of war

Military service seems to create a penchant for collecting wartime souvenirs. When conventional armies fought each other, there was an ample supply of enemy equipment and memorabilia to bring back from the battlefront. But the Vietnam War played out differently. The United States didn’t face a highly standardized and universally equipped enemy. The availability of “war trophies,” or “battlefield pickups,” […]
Read More

Badges of skill and courage

My Uncle Carl Maffia was born on New Year’s Eve 1926 in Chicago. A graduate of Crane Tech High School, he entered the Army in March 1945. As an 18-year-old draftee, he was destined for the infantry, to be used in the final drive to defeat Germany and Japan. Before heading overseas, Maffia joined the ranks of a small group […]
Read More

Venditti earned rare honor decades after D-Day

Louis Venditti’s combat exploits began on June 6, 1944, when he parachuted into France with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in the pre-dawn hours of D-Day. By war’s end, he had a chest full of medals, including four Battle Stars for his participation in four major European campaigns, and two Invasion Arrowheads on his European Theatre of […]
Read More

A tale of bravery, told through memorabilia

Louis Venditti served with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the legendary 101st Airborne Division. He was one of the “Band of Brothers” made famous by the Stephen Ambrose book and the HBO miniseries. When he returned home from WW ll, he did so in an Army uniform with a unique set of patches and badges not commonly seen. In […]
Read More

Taking aim at a pivotal pistol

A captured enemy pistol was one of the most popular souvenirs brought back by GIs serving overseas during WW ll. They were readily available, of no practical use to the U.S. government and easy to carry. The U.S. military permitted GIs to bring back these coveted war trophies by the thousands. The pistol pictured above was brought home by World War […]
Read More

Sorting out Silver and Bronze Stars

Q — What’s the difference between a Silver Star and a Bronze Star? A — Our museum celebrates several Silver and Bronze Star recipients, including Army Sgt. James Orlando “Lon” Fornelli during World War II (right) and Army Pfc. John Puccini during the Korean War (left). Both medals are awarded for actions in connection with combat, but it’s a matter […]
Read More

If you haven’t already done so,
please join our email list.