Joseph Mastroianni
Member of the 27th Fighter Bomber Group
in Italy, Corsica, France and Germany

      Joe's wife Catherine, has sent me the obituary from the funeral. He was born on 26 August 1915 and died on 27 February 2009 at 93 years of age. The pictures below were taken from that obituary.

      I have always remembered with fondness a particular incident with Joe.

      I was a green, young fighter pilot, fresh from the States and the Group was having their "Year Overseas" party at a restaurant/bar in Salerno Italy. It was in December of 1943.

      I have it written up on my web page and will excerpt it here.

      "In early December (I think) the group held a party celebrating their year overseas. They trucked us up to a restaurant in Salerno. I don't remember a great deal about this party. Some kind of program was taking place after we ate. I remember sitting in back on a chair between Sergeant Kraft and Sergeant Joe Mastroianni. As I've probably said before I looked very young and I had not had any real experience with wine.
      They had a wonderful wine which I learned later had been dubbed "The Purple Death!" As I remember it was like a white wine that had had a little purple ink put in it, kind of like a Rose except it was purple!
      I would take a drink from my glass, say something to Mastroianni, take another drink and turn to Kraft. And while talking to him, Joe would refill my glass.This cycle repeated until I was absolutely sloshed. I was told later that I went back to the field in the back of an ambulance with fifteen others.! A grizzled old sergeant was holding me in his lap like I was his long lost son! They tried to put my fleece lined boots on my feet but my ankles were like they were on ball bearings and they gave it up. I remember waking up when the ambulance stopped by the warehouse, getting on my feet and making it to bed!
      The next morning they tried to wake me for a mission but could not! This is a big no-no!
      I finally woke later in the morning with a splitting hangover. I staggered over to the med tent and sat there popping aspirins most of the day!"

      There were some repercussions from this event but that is another story.

      I remember Joe, mostly from this instance, which was a memorable one (to me).