Colaianni, Albert N. (776th)

Albert N. Colaianni 1Albert N. Colaianni

Biography: Albert N. Colaianni was born on September 30, 1919, in Pocatello, Bannock County, Idaho. He was one of four sons and three daughters born to Adelmo Colaianni and Dorantina Rossi. Albert attended local schools, graduating from Pocatello High School in 1938, where he was a member of the choir.

On March 10, 1941, Albert married the former Florence D. Wade, “Flossy” in American Falls, Idaho. She was also from Pocatello and the daughter of Leroy G. Wade and Mabel M. Westrom. Prior to entering the military, he was employed as a salesclerk.

Service Time: Albert enlisted in the Idaho National Guard on March 31, 1941, and quickly left for active duty with them on April 11th. He entered active Federal Service as a Private in Battery “G”, 183rd Field Artillery Regiment. By the end of 1941, his unit had morphed into Headquarters Company, 776th Tank Destroyer Battalion.

Albert N. Colaianni 3

Various components of the 776th soon began assignments as coastal and installation guards in various locations in the Northwest. They also trained at Camp Hood, Texas and on January 14, 1943, they shipped out from the New York Port of Embarkation, arriving at Casablanca, French Morocco on the 25th. They fought in the area of Maknassy and Ferryville, Tunisia. Eighteen enlisted men participated in the Sicily, Italy campaign as radio operators and military police.

The photo at left is Albert during his senior year in high school, 1938.

The unit debarked in the vicinity of Cappaci, Italy, beginning September 19, 1943, and the main body was committed near Rotondi October 10, 1943, where it supported the Volturno River crossing. Next, they joined the fighting near Cassino January–March 1944. In the evening of January 16, 1944, in an area about 50 miles southeast of San Pietro Avellana, where Alberts parents were born, a half-track of Company A was destroyed when it hit a mine. Early the morning of the 17th, in an attempt to retrieve the half-track, the huge wrecker of Headquarters Company, commanded by Technician Grade 4 (T/4) Albert Colaianni, hit a cleverly concealed mine killing Albert, who was on foot, and wounding the driver. He was buried in the Marzanello Nuovo Cemetery in Italy.

Albert N. Colaianni 2On March 3, 1949, Technician Grade 4 Albert N. Colaianni was re-interred at the Mountain View Cemetery, Pocatello, Idaho. We would like to thank T/4 Colaianni for making the ultimate sacrifice for his country. We also thank Kim, husband of Albert’s nephew Eugene, for providing the main photo and information used in this tribute. And thank you to Find-a-Grave contributor Bill E. Doman for use of the grave marker photo.