"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Monday, May 29, 2017

“Nothing else remains except family photos & memories of this brave young hero and an uncle I never knew.”

It seems fitting to share this on Memorial Day. Joseph Alfred Buono was my uncle. He was just 19 when he died in the icy North Atlantic. His sister Esther ( my mother) is still living at 94 and her mother Mary ( my grandmother) lived to be 102. Through their stories and cherished memories, we grew up knowing the uncle we never met.
To all service members, past and present: Thank you and God Bless.


Pvt. Joseph Alfred Buono, USMCR Service No. 502019


Joseph Alfred Buono, Jr. was born on September 30, 1924 in Westerly, Rhode Island. His parents were Mary and Joseph Buono, Sr.
Joseph Jr. was the first child born to Mary and Joseph Sr. and they would also have a daughter named Esther. Joseph Sr. was born in Italy and became a naturalized citizen in 1920. In April of 1930 the Buono family lived in Brooklyn, New York in a rented home located at 22 Union Street. The Monthly rent Joseph, Sr. paid was thirty-dollars and as noted on the Federal Census the family did not have a radio set in the home, so luxuries at the time were kept to only the basics. Joseph, Sr. worked as a baker in a bread making plant. His wife Mary worked as a packer in a tin factory.
Family remembrances recalled by Frank L. Punturieri, Joseph Alfred Buono’s nephew tell that he was an average boy, athletic and a good basketball player. Joseph Jr. was also a hard worker and in 1942, he worked down at the docks in New York and was working on the ship the SS Normandie, while being converted to a troopship during World War II, the Normandie caught fire, capsized, and sank. Joseph was nearly killed in the disaster.
Joseph wanted to join the Marines when he was 17 but his parents would not sign the papers to allow him to join. However, he turned 18 in September 1942 and he enlisted into the Marine Corps on November 13, 1942 in New York and was sent to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina to boot camp. Right from boot camp he was shipped off on the USS Henry R. Mallory destination Marine Detachment, Naval Operation Base Reykjavik, Iceland for training for the Normandy invasion.
When Joseph left in November 1943 for training he never returned home again except for some letters he sent home, that are now treasured by his family; his belongings shipped home from boot camp when they shipped out and a Purple Heart Award post-mortem. 
When the Mallory was sunk his body was never retrieved and was reported missing. His family was notified and as per law was classified as officially presumed dead, 8 February 1944, one year and a day after the sinking of the Mallory. Pvt. Buono has been memorialized at the Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England, which is his only grave marker being lost at sea.
Frank Punturieri, the son of Esther (Buono) Punturieri, Joseph’s sister relates of his uncle, “Nothing else remains except family photos and memories of this brave young hero and an uncle I never knew.”
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1 comment:

Jordan Prouty said...

Very nice tribute to a fallen young Marine.
It would be nice if more would pay the same
tribute to their fallen family members.