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Interview with Albert A. D'Amico, WWII veteran. CCSU Veterans History Project

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Published on Dec 30, 2010

Interview conducted by Eileen Hurst. Albert D'Amico was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, but because he was too thin, they would not accept him, and sent him back home to New Britain, Ct. However, he found that the Navy would accept him, and he joined in April of 1943, weighing only 105-110 lbs. He went to boot camp in Sampson, NY, and transferred to an amphibious base in the Soloman Islands, MD. He trained on LST (Landing Ship Tanks) boats, where he learned mechanical work, including working in the main engine room and repairing diesel engines. Because D'Amico had been a machinist before joining the Navy, he was volunteered to run a smaller boat, an LCVP (landing craft vehicle personnel), which was housed in the larger LST, but was more efficient in transporting troops (36 soldiers per boat) to the shores. D'Amico was stationed on LST 278, which travelled through the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean, and finally landed in San Diego, where the men trained with the 2nd marine division. The sailors went on to Saipan, and began "island hopping", going from island to island, and transporting soldiers to the areas. He was awarded five battle stars, and was part of five major battles in the South Pacific. The first was the Battle of Saipan; the second was the Battle of Tinian just 30 days after the Battle of Saipan. D'Amico describes the battle of Tinian, which was a smaller battle, as just as dangerous, because the Japanese soldiers were not only killing American soldiers, but other men, women, and children as well. From there, the sailors on LST 278 went to the Island of Peleliu. During the battle there the LST was repeatedly shot at, but it was the typhoon that hit them that finally sunk the ship. D'Amico was then sent to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for underwater demolition training. While there he found that his hearing and ear were damaged from the previous battles he had been a part of, and he was unable to complete the training. He was then transferred to LST 399, where he remained for the rest of the war, and went back to piloting the smaller LCVP boats. The LST 399 was part of the Battle of Iwo Jima, and D'Amico was on the boat that ferried the six soldiers that were in the famous Joe Rosenthal photo of the flag raising at Iwo Jima. Joe Rosenthal also photographed D'Amico on his LCVP. The last major battle that D'Amico received a battle star for was the Battle of Okinawa, where he dropped off members of the first marine division, and additional supplies on the island. This was the first battle that D'Amico remembers major devastation as a result of kamikaze pilots. LST 399 then went to Subic Bay in Manila to train for the invasion of Japan, but the war was declared over when they were there. They were sent back to Okinawa, and the Iejima Island just off the coast. While in the South Pacific, D'Amico had the opportunity to see a USO show that included a performance by Bob Hope. He was discharged in Long Island, NY in January of 1946, and returned home to New Britain, CT where he married, and had five children. He worked at New Britain Machine, and then Pratt and Whitney, until 1983. He joined the VFW and attended as many reunions as he could, before he became unable to travel. Alfred D'Amico passed away in December of 2007.

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