The NATIONAL ITALIAN AMERICAN FOUNDATION

NIAF Recognizes John Basilone Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or elissa@niaf.org


(WASHINGTON, DC — February 10, 2003) February 19, 2003 marks the 2nd anniversary of the observation of Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Day, reports The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). In honor of Sergeant John Basilone, Governor McGreevy of New Jersey and mayors of several cities across the nation have proclaimed February 19 as John Basilone Day.

“Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone was more than just a soldier, he was a war hero who fought at the bloodiest battle in the Marines’ history on the sands of Iwo Jima. After receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor, he returned home to help the war bond effort and requested reassignment to the battlefield where he lost his life serving his country,” said NIAF Chairman Frank J. Guarini and former U.S. congressman of New Jersey.

John Basilone was the only enlisted Marine in World War II to receive the nation’s two highest military honors – the Navy Cross and the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor. He received the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor in 1942 and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism at Iwo Jima during February 1945.

Currently, there is a movement to have a stamp created in honor of John Basilone. The cities of New York and Philadelphia have passed resolutions endorsing a stamp for Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone.

Born in Buffalo, New York, and raised in Raritan, New Jersey, he was the son of Italian immigrants. His father was from Benevento, the region of Campania and his mother’s parents were from Naples, Italy.