Albani, Giovanni (823rd)

Giovanni Albani 

Biography:  Giovanni Albani was born on July 20, 1920, in Hartford, Connecticut. He was the son of Gaetano Albani and Pasqualina Matarazzo. His draft card shows he was unemployed at the time he signed up, February 16, 1942. His enlistment record indicates he completed grammar school and was working as a plasterer when he entered the military.

Service Time:  Giovanni entered the Army on September 25, 1942, in Hartford, CT. He was eventually assigned to Company B of the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. The 823rd trained at a number of military bases including Camps Bowie and Hood, Texas, and Camp Clairborne, Louisiana, where they were located prior to participating in the Louisiana maneuvers.

The unit boarded trains on March 9, 1944. enroute to Camp Myles Standish, and the Boston port, where they arrived on the 12th to begin their final preparations for the trip overseas. On April 6th, they loaded on the U.S.S. Sea Porpoise and sailed for England, arriving in Newport, Wales, on the 17th after an uneventful trip. After some additional training and a delay, they boarded three LSTs and landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, on June 24, 1944. They were equipped with 3″ towed guns and went into action within 24 hours of their arrival. Supporting the drive on St. Lô, they fought at Mortain in August.

Passing through Belgium and Holland, they entered Germany on September 17th. Fighting along the Siegfried Line in October, which included the encirclement of Aachen, the 823rd converted to M10 tank destroyers beginning in November, and shifted to the Ardennes in late December. Fighting to eliminate the Bulge in January, 1945, they crossed the Roer River on February 24th. Crossing the Rhine River on March 24th, the unit raced eastward to the Elbe River, at Magdeburg, in April and finally began military occupation duties on April 21st. Giovanni was awarded a Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action on April 18, 1945. His citation reads as follows:

“Corporal Albani and his comrades, noticing a knocked out destroyer blazing, savagely fought off enemy attacks and fire in order to remove three crew members and bring them to safety. While doing so, they also knocked out several enemy positions and a machine gun nest. Corporal Albani’s gallant actions in aiding his comrades help save their lives and were a source of inspiration to all who observed him.”

He was also awarded the EAME medal with credit for the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe, along with the Good Conduct, American Service and WWII Victory medals and was eligible to wear the Distinguished Unit Ribbon awarded to Company B and the Belgian Fourragere.

Giovanni returned to the U.S. and was soon working as a mason. On November 26, 1951, he married the former Anna M Gabriel. She was born in Norwalk, CT and was the daughter of Anthony Gabriel and Mary P. Palaio. Over the years, they had five children, Elissa, Thomas, Jeffrey, Gina and John. By 1956, Giovanni appears to have his own company, G. Albani and Co., possibly a masonry business. At some point, the family was living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Giovanni passed away on July 29, 2012.