Marinelli, Genova J. (802nd)

Genova J. Marinelli 1Genova J. Marinelli

Biography:  Genova J. Marinelli, “Jerry”, was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. His real name was Jerry John Marinelli Jr., but as happened many times with men of Italian descent, his name was modified when he signed up for military service. He was the son of Jerry J. and Anna I. Marinelli and attended St. Michael’s elementary and graduated from Atlantic City High School. After leaving school, he worked in the Westinghouse factory.

Service Time:  Jerry entered the service on April 13, 1943, and after basic training was assigned to B Company of the 802nd Tank Destroyer Battalion. They shipped out from the New York port on April 7, 1944, arriving in England on the 15th. After a brief period of preparations, they were loaded on a ship for France, disembarking in Normandy on July 1 as a towed battalion with 3″ guns.

They entered battle near Carentan on July 4th and advanced into Brittany in August, supporting the attack on St. Malo that same month. They then crossed France and entered Luxembourg on September 23rd, supporting operations against the Siegfried Line through November. The 802nd participated in the Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg in late December and converted to M36s in February through March 1945. Jerry served as a gunner in one of the new TDs

They crossed the Rhine River at Wesel on April 2nd and joined in the elimination of the Ruhr Pocket. Jerry’s TD was the first to attempt a crossing of a canal feeding the Lippe River. They loaded the 32 ton destroyer onto a pontoon ferry and before long, the ferry collapsed and the TD, with Jerry and the rest of the crew, were in 14 feet of water. He recalled that the TD went to the bottom and landed on its side, allowing all the men to escape. Losing their TD gave them the opportunity to receive a new and faster unit as a replacement. Shortly after this, the 802nd took on occupation duties.

Genova J. Marinelli 2Jerry received credit for the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. He was awarded the EAME Medal, WWII Victory Medal, and Good Conduct Medal and left the service at Fort Dix, New Jersey, on December 5, 1945, at the rank of Corporal.

Jerry returned to Atlantic City and found work as a construction manager. On January 20,, 1950, he married the former Rose A. Harvey who was also born in Atlantic City. She was the daughter of Frederick S. Harvey and Anna Hartly and had served in the Army Nurse Corps, running the operating room in a front-line hospital. Although they only met after the war, Jerry found out that the two had actually been on the same ship going to England. Rose left the service at the rank of Captain and occasionally reminded him that she out-ranked him. The new couple had two sons, Jerry born in 1951 and Frederick in 1954. The family moved to Miami, Florida, in 1969, and Jerry worked as a State Revenue Agent. In his spare time, he enjoyed model trains and was a member of the Lions Club and American Legion.

Jerry passed away on February 12, 2014, and was buried in the Atlantic City Cemetery, in Pleasantville, NJ. I want to thank Jerry’s son, Fred, for providing the photo and information for this tribute.