The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PV2 William Vito Giovanniello, US51069642, who died in the service of his country on April 25th, 1951 in South Korea. The cause of death was listed as MIA to Declared Dead. At the time of his death William was 22 years of age. He was from Brooklyn, New York. William's Military Occupation Specialty was 4745-Light Weapons Infantryman.
The decorations earned by PV2 William Vito Giovanniello include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Korea Service Medal, and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
Private First Class Giovanniello was a member of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. He was listed as Missing in Action while fighting the enemy in South Korea on April 25, 1951. He was presumed dead on December 31, 1953. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial. Private First Class Giovanniello was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. Remains Accounted For September 19 2016. Son of Italian immigrants Rocco and Elisabetta Giovanniello.
I am a niece, Elizabeth Giovanniello Kendall, daughter of his eldest brother, Isidore. I was only two when my Uncle Bill left for Korea. My only vague memory is sitting on his lap as he filed my finger nails. I have a Korean doll keepsake that he sent to my grandmother early in his service in KorBy Sharon E. SiegelFor the Times Herald-Record.
PORT JERVIS After 65 years, a local soldier killed in the Korean War will come home to Port Jervis on Saturday morning.
The recently identified remains of Pfc. William Vito Giovanniello will be transported via Delta Airline from Hawaii to Newark Airport. Family members and a military honor guard will be waiting on the tarmac.
A hearse from Knight-Auchmoody Funeral Home will transport the casket, with a motorcycle escort of veterans, from Newark to Port Jervis via routes 78, 287, 80, 15 and 206, and then River Road, South Maple Avenue and East Main Street to the funeral home.
The soldier's motorcade will pass hundreds of yellow ribbons that have been placed along city streets, yards, homes and the gates to Giovanniello's final resting place at St. Mary's Cemetery.
Upon hearing of the fallen soldier's identification and planned local burial, veterans groups and others began planning to post yellow ribbons and line both sides of his return route in a flag-waving salute, starting at the entrance to the city and continuing to the end of the route.
Debbie Ford, who is among those who have been working on the public salute to Giovanniello, said that when she heard the news she immediately thought of his parents, who died without being able to lay their 22-year-old son to rest.
"I thought, Oh, my gosh, that family has got to be devastated, lost for words to get that call, and I wanted to do something," Ford said. "I thought it would be special tying a yellow ribbon around the town to remember Mr. Giovanniello's having left his family to go defend our country and never to be returned. I and others think that is the least we can do for him and his family."
Giovanniellos eldest next of kin said the family is grateful for this show of support. "We know this is a Giovanniello event, but there has been a lot of love shown to us by the community and we are glad to have them share in Uncle Bill's return home," said Elizabeth Giovanniello Kendall. "We're grateful for the closure this brings to our family. Our uncle can now rest in peace."
Those wishing to pay their respects to Giovanniello may do so during public viewing hours from 2-6 p.m. Nov. 9 at Knight-Auchmoody Funeral Home, 154 E. Main St., Port Jervis. A private funeral service will be held on Nov. 10 by his family, followed that day by a short graveside service at noon at St. Mary's Cemetery, military honors and burial.
A welcome Home to our Brother William Vito Giovanniello
(65 years after his loss)
By Jim "Doc" Hall (Bravo 2/35th 1970
On a cool gray rainy day our Brother, William V. Giovanniello, came home to his adopted home town (or at least the town that adopted him) of Port Jervis, NY.
William was born and grew up in Brooklyn, NY before going off to war in Korea. On April 25th, 1951 his Company (F Co) was overrun and William went missing. His parents and Brothers never knew from that day on what had happened to him but they prayed one day he would come home.
The family eventually resettled to the town of Port Jervis (about 80 miles west of New York City). There they kept their hopes up for the balance of their lives but their hopes were in vain as each grew older and finally passed on without knowing.
Then on September 19, 2016 William's oldest niece, Elizabeth Giovanniello Kendall, (who became the official designated next of kin upon the death of her father) was notified that after all these years William's remains had been identified.
The dream of her Father and Uncles and especially her Grandparents was finally coming true. The Uncle that they had heard stories about their entire lives (though only 2 ever met Uncle Bill, and both as babies) was coming home. A bittersweet happening which has been embraced by Elizabeth and all of William's nieces and nephews.
The town of Port Jervis festooned itself in yellow ribbons to welcome home their adopted hero and many friends of the current Giovanniello family came to Knight-Auchmoody Funeral Home to offer their support in welcoming him home.
Approximately 60 of those same towns folk were in attendance at the St. Mary's Cemetery as the funeral procession made it's way to the final resting place on Thursday.
The procession was lead by local officers in 6 police cars as well as two mounted police officers. Six military pallbearers and 3 military members to perform the flag folding and presentation met the hearse as it stopped at the end of the row of graves where William was laid to rest. Another group of military stood by for the rifle salute and the playing of Taps.
The priest, who performed the graveside services, spoke first of what an honor it was to preside over this service. He had a deep appreciation of what William and all Korean vets had done in Korea as he had fought in his youth for the forces that briefly freed Hungary from the yoke of Soviet repression and was forced to flee the country and migrate to the US following reversal of the effort. He has since his youth appreciated the US in it's efforts to support people seeking their freedoms.
So on a beautiful sunny day the gathering of supporters and approximately 30 extended family members stood in St Mary's Cemetery to say their welcome homes and last goodbyes to our Brother William.
It was a joyous occasion and Joe Soga and I were proud to be there to witness the day.
Many thanks also go out to Cacti Rich Nilsen who made the long trip from Long Island, NY to help welcome William home and to show his support to the family. Rich made it to the funeral home on Wednesday and the family was very impressed and grateful for his efforts to be there for them.
William was one of three Cacti Korean War MIAs whose remains have been identified during the past couple of months. One of the three was William Smith who was interred in October in Elmira, NY with Cacti Mike Slyck and Al Arroyo in attendance.
We are still awaiting word of where and when the third one, David Nordin Jr, will be buried. Of course we hope to have Cacti Association members there to welcome him home.
With the identification of these three it leaves 127 more Korean War Cacti MIAs to be identified and returned home. We all pray that the process that will bring them home will be swift and that we will be able to welcome home each one.