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First Name: Dominick

Last Name: Digiacomo

Birthplace: Jersey City, Hudson, NJ, US

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)

Rating: Fireman 1st Class (Non Petty Officer)

Home of Record: Newark, NJ
Middle Name: John

Date of Birth: 15 December 1914

Date of Death: 25 November 1945 (Presumed)

MIA Date: 01 March 1942

Rank or Rate: Fireman

Years Served: 1940-1945

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Dominick John DiGiacomo was the son of Italian immigrants, Antonio Maurio and Vincenza "Jennie" Fontanella DiGiacomo, who arrived in the Port of New York in the early days of the Twentieth Century and married in New York abt 1914. They were the parents of Dominick and a daughter, Carolina N. Patella. Dominick's parents divorced before 1919 when Dominick's mother "Jennie" married Nicholas Esposito. They were the parents of three children: Christopher “Chris,” Angelina Mitortando and Marie Rachel Fonti.

Dominick completed three years (1930-1933) at Dickinson High School in Newark, NJ. Before enlisting in the navy, he worked as a carpenter's helper for a period of time. Dominick applied for enlistment in the US Navy on 11 Jun 1940 at the Naval Recruiting Station in Newark, NJ. Dominick confirmed in his enlistment form that the correct spelling of his surname is DiGiacomo and not Digiacomo. He enlisted in the US Navy (NSN: 223-82-31) as an Apprentice Seaman (AS) on 3 Sep 1940 in New York, New York. A few days later, AS DiGiacomo reported to the Naval Training Station (NTS) Newport, RI to begin basic training. He completed basic training in late October 1940, was detached on 01 Nov 1940 with orders to report to Asiatic Station for duty. AS DiGiacomo began his lengthy journey to the Far East when he transferred as a passenger to the light cruiser USS St. Louis (CL-49) on 2 Nov 1940. St Louis' home port was Norfolk, VA. She steamed for the Pacific on 09 Nov via the Panama Canal. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 12 Dec 1940. DiGiacomo was advanced in rate to Seaman Second Class (S2c) on 03 Jan 1941. Several weeks later, S2c DiGiacomo was detached from the St. Louis on 19 Jan 1941 and transferred as a passenger to the navy transport ship USS Chaumont (AP-5) in Pearl Harbor.

After a three week Pacific island hopping crossing, the Chaumont arrived in Manila, Philippines and discharged her passengers and cargo in early Feb 1941. S2c DiGiacomo reported on board the USS Asheville (PG-21) on 10 Feb 1941. Five months later on 01 July 1941, he changed his rate to Fireman Third Class (F3c). On 01 Oct 1941, he was advanced in rate to Fireman Second Class (F2c). After the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on 07 Dec 1941, the Asheville, like most of the old ships that comprised the US Asiatic Fleet, was heading south trying to outrun the vastly superior number of Japanese ships and aircraft sweeping south. On 02 Mar 1942, a Japanese air patrol spotted the lightly armed gunboat trying to make it to Australia.

The following day, 03 Mar 1942, the Asheville was attacked by two Japanese destroyers, Arashi* and Nowaki, who, after 32 minutes of intense combat, sank the venerable Asheville at 0938 hours. Some of her crew were seen abandoning ship. Only one destroyer, Arashi, threw a line over its side to an American sailor; Fireman Second Class (F2c) Fred Louis Brown. Arashi returned to Staring Bay, East Indies with Brown on board on 07 Mar 1942. Brown was incarcerated in a Makassar POW camp on 17 Mar 1942. He did not survive the war and died as a POW. At least one hundred sixty Americans, Filipinos and Chinese were lost with Asheville.

F2c DiGiacomo was officially reported missing in action on 01 Mar 1942 (according to navy records) and presumed dead on 25 Nov 1945. His remains were unrecoverable. He was posthumously advanced in rate to Fireman First Class (F1c) on 01 Jan 1944.

He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, American Defense Service Medal with “Fleet” clasp, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one battle star, WWII Victory Medal, and Philippine Defense Medal. He may be eligible for the Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive 07 Dec 1941).


* As fate would have it, IJN destroyer Arashi, would several months later on 04 Jun 1942, unwittingly lead American dive-bombers from the carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) to the Japanese Striking Force that was attacking Midway. Those same bombers had been unable to locate the Japanese carriers and were within minutes of having to turn back to Enterprise because of low fuel. They spotted Arashi quickly steaming in a direction the dive bombers hoped would lead them to their targets. Within 10 minutes, the dive-bombers spotted the Japanese carriers and attacked. They sank the Kaga and Akagi and helped change the course of the Pacific War against Japan.

According to a letter in his service record, Dominick was engaged to Miss Eleanore (sic) Caroselli. She sent a letter to the Navy Dept. dated 02 Mar 1943 asking about his status on behalf of his parents. The Navy Dept. response was dated 08 Mar 1943. The letter said, interalia, that Dominick John Di Giacomo (sic), Fireman Second Class, United States Navy, was still in a status of "missing."


The family of Dominick J. DiGiacomo, received a commemoration from President Roosevelt. It reads:

In grateful memory of Dominick J. DiGiacomo, United States Navy, who died in the service of his country on U.S.S. ASHEVILLE, 25 Nov 1945 (Presumed). He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live, and grow, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives – in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.

(signed), Franklin D Roosevelt

President of the United States of America


[Bio #5 compiled by Gerry Lawton (GML470)]

Honoree ID: 133585   Created by: MHOH




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