Launched in 2020 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 through the #IAWW2Heroes initiative.
This entry is a special submission from NIAF friend Stephanie Longo in honor of her late grandfather.
Joseph Anthony Longo was born on September 21, 1916, in Guardia Lombardi in the Province of Avellino, Italy, and arrived in the United States at age 11 in 1927. The Longo family settled in Scranton, Pa. He entered the US Army on June 27, 1945, and served until August 5, 1946. He served at the Infantry Replacement Training Center at Fort McClellan, Ala.
As first cook, Mr. Longo supervised and directed the activities of 12 mess hall workers in the preparation of meals for a company of 200 enlisted men. He also assigned personnel to duties and enforced kitchen sanitation regulations.
When Mr. Longo returned home from service, he worked as a barber in Dunmore and in Scranton. His wife was the former Anna Mascaro (1914-1958) and they had two children, Joseph Gaetano “Jay” (1942-2019) and Ann Marie (born 1948), Stephanie Longo’s mother. Mr. Longo died of lung cancer on April 1, 1973.
“He’s the inspiration behind my Italian American activities—I was born in 1981, so I never knew him, but Mom always told me how he wanted to go back to Guardia and never made it,” shared Stephanie. “That stuck with me from the time I was a child and as I got older, I had to learn more. The rest is history.”
Stephanie Longo traveled to Italy for the first time with NIAF as a Gift of Discovery student in 2002. The program is now named the Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery. Today she is the Associate Producer and Administrative Office of The Italian American Podcast.
If you’d like to make a submission to NIAF’s #IAWW2Heroes initiative, email the photo and description to firstname.lastname@example.org.