Parisi, Emelio Anthony

Name: Parisi, Emelio Anthony, PFC, USA

Local address: 11 Orchard St, Matawan, NJ (I believe a new residence exists at this location now.)

Emelio, born June 6, 1919 in Freehold, was the middle of five children of Italian immigrants Vincenzo “James” Parisi (1882-1940) and Jennie Auletto (1888-1977). Vincenzo was a barber in Freehold and later Matawan.

Emelio graduated from Matawan High (most likely in 1937) where he was a standout basketball player, and subsequently went to work for Howard Erdmann’s Esso station in Lawrence Harbor. He initially registered for the draft in October 1940 and was called to Freehold for formal registration for those between 20 and 44 years of age in February 1942. Soon afterward he reported to Camp Croft, SC for basic training and then on to Camp Somerset, Md. He was assigned to the 111th Regiment, the federalized Pennsylvania National Guard, and departed for the South Pacific in September 1943.

The 111th participated in Operation Flintlock, the invasion of the Marshall Islands. There were three assaults on three atolls – Majuro, Kwajalein and Eniwetok – involving the US Army and Marines, supported by the Navy. All assaults were basically completed by February 1944, and it isn’t known which, if not all, of these battles Emelio fought in. On May 25, 1944, the Matawan Journal, published a photograph of Emelio and five fellow soldiers holding a captured Japanese flag on an unnamed atoll in the Marshalls. About a week later, on June 8, 1944 – two days after his 25th birthday – he was killed, and his family was notified of his death several days later.

Army hospital records indicated cause of death as “bullet, pistol or revolver, not in the line of duty.” In the miniseries Band of Brothers, a 101st Airborne trooper was depicted as accidently shooting himself with a German Luger war prize. Did Emelio find a Japanese Nambu pistol or was the accident with an American .45? We don’t know, but he didn’t return until he was brought home for burial at St. Josephs Cemetery in Keyport in March of 1948 (his marker has the incorrect day of death).

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Mark Chidichimo
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