War Stories

National Guard Airman Joseph Matty

Intent on entering the field of health care, Joseph Matty turned to Uncle Sam for help in pursuing his career by joining the Air National Guard. The oldest of two sons, Joseph Matty was born in Chicago to Ray Matty Sr. and Ann Marie Clark Matty. His paternal great-grandparents emigrated from Palermo, Sicily, and his maternal great-grandparents came from the […]
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Princess Mafalda of Savoy

Known for her piety and charity, Princess Mafalda of Savoy spoke out against Hitler with predictably tragic results. I have to admit I have always been fascinated by royalty. My father’s middle name was Umberto, in honor of Umberto I, the King of Italy who was assassinated in 1900. Many people know the story of the Russian czar and his […]
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Medal of Honor recipient Luigi Palma di Cesnola

The first Italian American to earn the Medal of Honor, Luigi Palma di Cesnola was instrumental in establishing the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Cavalliere Emmanuele Pietro Paolo Maria Luigi Palma di Cesnola would never be mistaken for the “Modern Major General,” Gilbert and Sullivan’s satirical take on the overly educated officers of 19th-century England. While Cesnola didn’t […]
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Army Corporal Anthony Cardamone

One of hundreds of thousands of Italian Americans who fought with valor during World War I, Anthony Cardamone left behind a precious legacy in the form of an account from the front. World War I was the first American war in which large numbers of Italian immigrants served in the armed forces. Although they were certainly present in U.S. military […]
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Rear Admiral Bancroft Gherardi

The most prominent Italian-American naval officer of the 19th century, Bancroft Gherardi distinguished himself in both war and peace. During the American Civil War, several officers of Italian descent served in the Union Navy. The highest-ranking among them was Bancroft Gherardi, a versatile officer and distinguished leader in the modern American Navy. Gherardi’s father, Donato, migrated to the United States […]
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World War II resistance fighter Giuseppe Lella

A spy for the Allies and a participant in the underground railroad that protected Italy’s Jews during World War II, Giuseppe “Pino” Lella considered himself a coward until an American author persuaded him to share his story with the world. The war came to Giuseppe “Pino” Lella right as he watched Fred Astaire dance with Ginger Rogers. It was the […]
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Army Staff Sergeant Bernie Izzo

Having prepared for 18 months to invade Japan, Bernie Izzo gratefully shifted gears after the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Editor’s Note: Bernie passed away in August 2016. This article was published in the June 2016 issue of Fra Noi and is being republished here in his memory. The youngest of four children, Bernard “Bernie” Izzo […]
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‘Merrill’s Marauder’ Dominic Baracani

A member of the legendary Merrill’s Marauders, Dominic Baracani battled his way through nearly 1,000 miles of jungle to loosen Japan’s hold on Burma during World War II. Editor’s Note: Dominic passed away in August 2019. This article was published in the June 2017 issue of Fra Noi and is being republished here in his memory. One of six children, […]
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Army Intelligence Officer Egidio Mangiardi

Fluent in several languages when he entered the military, Egidio Mangiardi became part of a Military Intelligence Unit that operated throughout Europe during World War II. Editor’s Note: Egidio passed away in January 2018. This article was published in the August 2016 issue of Fra Noi and is being republished here in his memory. One of 11 children, Egidio Mangiardi […]
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