To remember the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, NIAF is recognizing Italian Americans who sacrificed, served and defended peace, freedom and democracy during the war using the tag #IAWW2Heroes on social media.
This entry is a special submission from Anita Bevacqua McBride, NIAF’s Vice Chair of Cultural Affairs, about her first cousins—the sons of her paternal uncle, Vincenzo Bevacqua.
Four members of the Bevacqua family—four brothers—served in the U.S. Military. The astonishing aspect of this story is that three of them, Nick, Joseph and John, were serving at the same time in both Europe and the Pacific during WWII. Their photo that appeared in their hometown Bridgeport, Connecticut newspaper is below.
McBride’s aunt Theresa (their mother) wrote to them every day and her home was one of the many that displayed a blue star in their front window denoting that a member of the family was in the War. In her aunt’s case, she displayed three stars.
Nick served in the U.S. Armed Forces in the 158th Airway Communication System Squadron in China. He was drafted on October 21, 1942 and served until March 13, 1946. He was discharged with the rank of Sergeant.
Joe was drafted into the U.S. Army in March 1943 and was discharged in February 1946. He started in the 8th Armored Infantry Division and was then transferred to the 86th Infantry Division and sent to Europe with General Patton’s 3rd Army. He worked in an Ammunition and Pioneering Platoon. He was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service. When the war ended in Europe, he was sent to the Pacific Theater. With the dropping of the atomic bomb in Japan, the war ended in the Pacific and he was sent to the Philippine Islands.
John was drafted into the Army on May 14, 1943 and then discharged on December 24, 1945. He served as a Medical Technician with General Patton’s 3rd Army. He served at the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp for which he received the Meritorious Service Award. His service brought him to England, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. He served as Company Clerk and then as acting First Sergeant.
After WWII their youngest brother Bill enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in September 1948. He received Medical Technician Training in the states and was sent to Japan in December 1949. In June of 1950, the Korean War broke out and he served in Korea where he helped evacuate wounded personnel from combat areas to hospitals in Japan. He was then sent to the Far East Air Force Headquarters in Tokyo and served as an aide to the Surgeon General. He was discharged in August 1952 with the rank of Staff Sergeant.
“It is really a heroic and patriotic story of service by one family that was typical of many families of that era. As was also typical, they didn’t talk about it or expect any accolades but their honorable service was the pride of my aunt and uncle and our entire family,” said Anita Bevacqua McBride.
If you’d like to make a submission to NIAF’s #IAWW2Heroes initiative, email the photo and description to email@example.com.