Italian American WWII Hero: Joseph LaTorre Jr.

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 Joanne LaTorre Anderson in honor of her late father.

Joseph (Giuseppe) LaTorre Jr. (1919-1990) was born in San Jose, Calif., to Italian immigrant parents from Gioia del Colle, a comune in Bari. He married his wife Ann on December 7, 1941, the day of the infamous Pearl Harbor attacks. In response to the attacks in Hawaii, California mandated blackouts, which altered some of the couple’s plans.

Shortly after, LaTorre was drafted into the U.S. Army. In 1944, he was sent to Europe where he fought in and survived the Battle of the Bulge. LaTorre’s first daughter was born while he was in Germany. He met his daughter, Joanne, for the first time when she was 11 months old. Note the signature on the photo he sent to her: “To my Angel, From Daddy.” 

Photo of Joseph LaTorre Jr. with his message to his newborn daughter: “To my Angel, From Daddy”

A few years later, he and his wife welcomed their second daughter, Janis, who completed their family.

“He was a man of love, bravery, integrity, fun, hard work and devotion to his Italian family!” shared his daughter, Joanne LaTorre Anderson.

After he returned from the war, he went into a wholesale produce business: “He provided wonderful vegetables and fruit for our family dinners and generously shared with other family members, neighbors, and friends,” shared Anderson. “Over the years, he spoke frequently about his army ‘buddies’ with a sense of a strong brotherly love and pride! Joe LaTorre was a humble man, and his family is extremely proud of his participation in the ‘Battle of the Bulge’ which changed the world forever!”

If you’d like to make a submission to NIAF’s #IAWW2Heroes initiative, email the photo and description to

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1 Response to Italian American WWII Hero: Joseph LaTorre Jr.

  1. Luke Magnotto MD says:

    Battle of the Bulge was a brutal affair. Thank you to Joe in memoria for his bravery

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