Richard Rossi was born on June 1, 1924 in Lorain, Ohio. He was 17 years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked and enlisted in the US Army on May 10, 1943 with his best friend Robert Bailey. After completing basic training, he completed Radio School at Fort Benning, GA and became a radio operator. He continued to keep in touch with Robert throughout the time.
Richard deployed to the European front from Boston, MA and arrived in Liverpool, England. He was assigned to the 1301st Engineer General Service Regiment which was part of Patton’s 3rd Army. They departed for France landing on Utah Beach in early July, 1944. As a radio operator, his job consisted of a two-man team in the field. He typed Morse Code while the other generated voltage to transmit the message.
He was later detailed to the 3rd Army HQ in Nancy, France on an errand, when he learned of their need for a saxophone player. Richard auditioned and was transferred to the 3rd Special Services Company where he was a member of an orchestra playing Jamboree shows for service members. It was there that he learned that his friend, Robert Bailey had been killed in action on July 8, 1944.
Richard continued on spending time in Germany, Belgium and Czechoslovakia, performing for the troops and boosting morale of the men fighting. He experienced bombings and strafings by the Germans as he made his way through Europe. After the end of the war, he returned home to New York Harbor on Christmas Day and was honorably discharged on December 29, 1945.
Richard’s friend is buried at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville.