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War Stories

Army Specialist 3 Guy Cardarelli

Stationed in Germany more than a decade after World War II, Guy Cardarelli witnessed firsthand the lingering devastation wrought by fierce Allied bombing. Guy Cardarelli and his twin sister, Judy Ann, were born in Chicago in 1935 to Guido and Marie Mele Cardarelli. They lived behind the family grocery store/meat market on 5th Street and Kedzie Avenue. Cardarelli’s father immigrated from Morrovalle, Italy, and his mother’s family from Castelvetere in Campania. His father passed away shortly before Cardarelli’s fourth birthday, and the family moved in with his maternal grandparents and uncle in the North Austin neighborhood. Cardarelli grew up in ...

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Father/son soldiers Joseph & Anthony Siciliano

Though only 2 years old when his father, Joseph, was killed in action during World War II, Anthony Siciliano’s life was profoundly shaped by his dad’s bravery and sacrifice. Anthony J. Siciliano was born in Chicago on Nov. 9, 1942, to Joseph and Mary (Parise). His maternal grandparents emigrated from Sicily, and his paternal grandparents from Naples and Calabria. The extended family lived in the predominantly Italian neighborhood surrounding Taylor and Halsted streets. World War II raged on, and shortly after Siciliano was born, his father deployed to the South Pacific, where he built air strips and roads as a ...

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Marine gunner Giovanni Insolia (Vietnam)

Persuaded by a smooth-talking recruiter to join the Marines during the height of the Vietnam War, Giovanni Insolia survived an endless round of helicopter assaults and enemy ambushes as a member of the ill-fated Foxtrot Company. Giovanni Insolia grew up in Solarino, a small Sicilian town in the province of Siracusa. One of six children born to Paolo and Sebastiana Teodoro Insolia, he was surrounded by extended family throughout his childhood. Insolia’s father made very little money as the town barber, in most cases receiving goods like wheat in exchange for his services. When his family emigrated to Chicago under ...

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Army cameraman Gino Bartucci (Vietnam)

Born in Italy and trained by the Army as a cameraman, Gino Bartucci toured the country photographing atomic bombs, filming bombers flying overhead and helping create documentaries. Gino Bartucci was born in Malvitani di Rende, a small village in Calabria. Of the nine children born to Vincenzo and Maria Carmella (Pisello) Bartucci, six survived infancy. The family farm provided almost everything they needed. “We didn’t have to buy anything but salt, sugar … that’s about it,” Bartucci says. He attended a one-room school with about a dozen students. In 1955, Bartucci’s father immigrated to Chicago, bringing one son and his ...

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Marine machine gunner Paul Calabrese (Vietnam)

Mere months before full-scale battles raged across Vietnam, Paul Calabrese engaged in deadly skirmishes in the jungles around his base camps to ward off enemy incursion. The oldest of four sons, Paul Calabrese was born in Chicago to Joseph and Betty (Spindler) Calabrese. They lived in a family-owned six-flat on the West Side of Chicago until moving to Oak Park when Calabrese was 6 years old. He recalls Sunday dinners and Christmas gatherings at his paternal grandparents’ home. “I remember grandma making raviolis all the time and they lived in the basement,” says Calabrese. He explains that his grandparents had ...

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Air Force refueler Dominic Guerrieri

Refueling fighter jets during Desert Storm, Dominic Guerrieri flew over burning oil fields, saw bomb flashes and witnessed artillery launches into Kuwait. The youngest of six children, Dominic Guerrieri was born in Chicago and grew up on the Far Northwest Side of Chicago near Foster and Cumberland. His father, Carmen, and mother, Rita (Mariano) were born in Chicago. His grandparents emigrated from Basilicata and Bari, Italy. One of the youngest of 28 cousins, Guerrieri enjoyed his close-knit family. Christmas Eve was celebrated at home with the extended family enjoying the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes. A favorite Easter dish ...

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Naval NCO Georgiann Callaway

Opting for the Navy instead of college, Georgiann Callaway found professional fulfillment and adventure on six continents during a stellar 20-year career. Georgiann “Gigi” Callaway was born in Chicago and grew up in LaGrange Park, one of four girls born to Andrew and Ann (Beres) DiDonato. Her father’s family was from Calabria. Callaway enjoyed a close relationship with her paternal grandparents, who lived in the Little Italy around Taylor Street. “It was Sunday at my grandparents’ house,” says Callaway. Aunts, uncles and cousins gathered together for pasta. A cherished memory is making ravioli with her grandmother. Callaway attended Forest Road ...

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40-year Air Force/Guard veteran Victor Guerrieri

A member of the Air Force and Air National Guard for 40 years, Victor Guerrieri was responsible for all communications on base and in the field of battle during a nine-month deployment to Iraq in 2010. The second of six children, Victor Guerrieri was born in Chicago to Carmen and Rita (Mariano.) The family lived in his maternal grandparents’ building near Marmora and Higgins avenues before moving to the area around Foster and Cumberland avenues, where Guerrieri grew up. His parents were born in Chicago, and his grandparents emigrated from Bari. Maternal aunts, uncles and cousins all lived close, and ...

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Army Corporal Michael Priami

Earning a Bronze Star and Five Battle Stars as a forward observer during World War II, Michael Priami scouted out the enemy’s presence across Europe, communicating their locations back to the troops. The second of four children, Michael (Mike) Priami was born in 1924 in Hancock, Michigan. His father, Federico, was born in Rota, Italy, and his mother, Davina Barsocchi, was from Lucca. They met and married in Italy and emigrated to Hancock, settling near relatives. His parents grew a huge vegetable garden with potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and more. “They had everything,” Priami says. He, his older brother and ...

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Retired Army Lt. Col. Enrico Clausi

In the course of an exemplary 22-year career in the Army, Enrico Clausi has advanced from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonel while tackling everything from training soldiers and officers to mobilizing troops and equipment. Enrico A. Clausi was born in Chicago and grew up in the Italian neighborhood of Homan and Chicago avenues. “Even the garbage cans were painted red, white and green,” says Clausi. His father, Enrico, emigrated from Cosenza, Calabria, as a young boy. His mother, Antoinette Messi, was born in Chicago. He has one older sister. Clausi grew up surrounded with music. His father was a professional ...

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