Linda Grisolia

Linda Grisolia is a longtime Fra Noi correspondent, having contributed Onori and War Stories features over the years. She is a proud founding member of the Italian American Veterans Museum at Casa Italia and is a member of the board of directors. Many of the Italian-American veterans she interviewed for the Fra Noi were featured in the documentary, “5000 Miles from Home”, which aired on Channel 11. As a child, she remembers paging through her grandpa’s Fra Noi newspaper, fascinated with the Italian words, never dreaming that one day she would be a correspondent for that wonderful publication.

Navy Corpsman Sam Scardino (Vietnam)

In the thick of battle during the Vietnam War, Sam Scardino was so severely wounded in a landmine explosion that doctors initially thought he had perished in the blast. The second of five children, Samuel Scardino was born in Chicago to Samuel and Doris (Marquardt) Scardino. The family lived in the Italian neighborhood of California and Arthington avenues, near his grandparents, Vincenzo and Filomena, who emigrated from Campobello di Mazara, Sicily. With grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins right down the street, the family always gathered at someone’s house. “No matter what you did, on Sunday after church you had to …

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Veterans advocate Fred Randazzo

The son of a World War I veteran, Fred Randazzo served with pride during World War II and has dedicated his life to supporting all veterans before and since.   It’s that time of the year when we pay tribute to all veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces who have served our country through the centuries. Since Nov. 11, 1954, Veterans Day has been observed as a national holiday in America. Originally dubbed Armistice Day, it marks the anniversary of the end of World War I, which formally came to a close at the 11th hour of the 11th day …

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World War II airfield controller Bob Pasquesi

An airfield controller in England during World War II, Bob Pasquesi did his best to assure that the pilots in his fighter group took off and landed safely.   One of five children, Bob Pasquesi was born in Highland Park in 1924. His father, Sante Pasquesi, emigrated from Modena, Italy, at the age of 13 to join his uncle at Gonnella Bakery in Chicago. His mother, Linda Vitali, was born in Ferrara, Italy. Pasquesi grew up in Highland Park and graduated from St. James Grade School and Highland Park High School. His family ate dinner together every evening. “If you …

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National Guard Brigadier General John Fascia

Ascending to the rank of brigadier general, John Fascia spent the bulk of his illustrious 30-year career in the National Guard keeping the peace during riots and responding to major disasters. John Fascia was born in Chicago and lived in the Italian neighborhood of Lexington Street and Kedzie Avenue for several years until the family moved near Homan Avenue and Roosevelt Road. His father, Leonard Fascia, immigrated from San Marco la Catola when he was 16 years old, and his mother, Antoinette Riccio, was born in Chicago. He has one sister. Most of his mother’s large family lived within a …

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Army Major General James M. “Mike” Milano

  Ascending to the rank of major general, Mike Milano spent the latter part of a stellar 33-year career in the Army overseeing the training and deployment of hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers and allied police. The oldest of four children, James M. “Mike” Milano was born in Detroit to Bartholomew J. Milano and Patricia Ann Donlon. By the time Milano graduated from Holy Cross High School in Delran, New Jersey, the family had moved 10 times, coast to coast. His father was born and raised in Chicago, and his family emigrated from a town near Milan, Italy. Milano …

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Army Major Lorenzo Fiorentino (Middle East)

  An officer in the Army for 20 years, Lorenzo Fiorentino was in charge of anti-terrorism at a base in Kabul that housed the Three Star General Command. The youngest of four children, Lorenzo Fiorentino was born in Casteldaccia, Sicily, to Pietro and Rosalia (Canale). His father became ill and could no longer work the farm, and in 1972, the family immigrated to Chicago, where they lived with Rosalia’s sister and her family. His mother supported them as a seamstress until his father recovered and began working in a factory. Fiorentino grew up near Pulaski Road and North Avenue and …

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Navy Corpsman Richard Morbidoni (Korea)

Assigned to Plane Captain School after boot camp during the Korean War, his dream of entering the medical field came true when he transferred to Hospital Corps School. The oldest of two children, Richard Morbidoni was born at Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago. His parents, Alfredo Flora (Ricci), were both born in Castelfidardo, Italy, the accordion capital of the world. Alfredo came to Chicago when he was 17 years old to work in his uncle’s accordion factory. Flora immigrated with her mother and siblings when she was a toddler, taking a train from New York to San Francisco where her …

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Army NCO CJ Martello (Vietnam)

As NCO on an artillery base camp in the central highlands of Vietnam, he was responsible for keeping his squad on task and safe in the face of frequent enemy attacks. Costante James “CJ” Martello was born in Chicago’s Roseland Community Hospital. He was one of 12 children born to Angelina and August Martello, four of whom passed away before Martello’s birth. His parents were from the Veneto region of Italy and immigrated to Chicago to be near relatives and paesani. Martello grew up in the tightly knit Italian community of Roseland, where his father made salami in the basement …

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Navy Lt. Cdr. Paul Rubino (Vietnam)

A surgeon serving in Vietnam, he still vividly recalls a four-day stretch during which he and his team toiled to save the lives of a couple dozen severely wounded Marines. Paul Rubino was born in Bitritto, a small town near Bari, Italy. When he was 12 years old, he and his mother, Domenica, immigrated to Chicago where his father, Vincenzo, had been working as a candy maker. The family settled into a third-floor apartment on Grand Avenue and May Street, above Taccogna Foods, now known as Bari Finer Foods. The close-knit neighborhood was largely Italian, many from Bari. Everyone looked …

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Marine SSgt E5 Diana Fecarotta (Vietnam)

Choosing between the Peace Corps and the Marines during the Vietnam War, she made a decision that had a profound positive impact on the rest of her life. The oldest of four children, Diana Frances Fecarotta was born in Chicago and grew up in the heavily Italian neighborhood known as “The Patch” near Grand and Ogden avenues. Her parents, Joseph Gerris and Francesca Mary (Lombardino) Fecarotta, were born in Chicago and both sets of grandparents emigrated from Sicily. The family lived in a six-flat owned by Fecarotta’s maternal grandparents. Her mother had three sisters who lived either in the building …

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