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.
This entry is a special submission from NIAF Member Chris R. Vaccaro in honor of his grandfather.
Robert Vaccaro, Chief Petty Officer 3rd Class, had a unique position as a member of the Underwater Demolition Team (UDT), which was the precursor of the Navy Seals.
While in the U.S. Navy, the Brooklyn native served in both the Pacific and European theaters and received a Purple Heart after being shot in the groin with shrapnel. He was also awarded the Liberty Medal, Occupation Service Medal, European African Middle Eastern Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, American Campaign Medal and WWII Medal.
After the war he settled into a career as a service manager for General Electric on Long Island.
The son of an Italian immigrant, his father Roberto Vaccaro was born in Palermo, Sicily.
If you’d like to make a submission to NIAF’s #IAWW2Heroes initiative, email the photo and description to firstname.lastname@example.org.