Gary Sinise and the VHP
The Veterans History Project at CCSU is an oral history project within the Governor William A. O'Neill Endowed Chair in Public Policy and Practical Politics.
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(above) Vincent receiving the Bronze star from Rear Admiral Ellery W. Stone September 15, 1945
Vincent Gambardella was born on July 19, 1916. He was drafted into the United States Army and served with Company H of the 267th Infantry Regiment. Vincent was interviewed by the Veterans History Project in December 2015. Vincent served his country from November 11, 1942 through November 21, 1945, eventually becoming a Staff Sergeant. During his service he was stationed in Tizi Ouzou, North Africa; Salerno, Naples, and Rome, Italy. Raised in an Italian household, Vincent grew up fluent in both English and Italian. At a time when there was a great deal of discrimination against Italians, Vincent used his bilingual skill set to become an Italian interpreter for the US Army. He helped to deliver United States currency to various Italian cities to reestablish their governments because of his second language skill. He mentioned one incident in which he was going to his office in Naples. The building exploded, and he was thrown back against the wall 12 feet. He then helped pick up the bodies and load them onto the truck. He received a Bronze star for his service.
On the cruise from the United States to North Africa there were about 3,000 soldiers. Gambardella said it was so crowded, some people had to sleep on the deck where he happened to run into a first cousin. He was able to get his cousin a cot to sleep on. After staying in Africa for some time, his unit headed to Italy. His unit left Africa and attempted to land at the beach in Salerno where the German army held the high ground. Gambardella's unit had to circle around and with the second attempt they came under fire.
Following his service he worked at a hotel in New Haven as the chief clerk. He joined the VFW in Woodbridge and was active for many years. He has stayed physically fit all these years by working out three times a week until recently, when he was told that he was too old to attend the gym without supervision. His late brother Anthony served with the 99th Infantry in the European theater.
To our interviewed veterans and friends of VHP, have you ever wondered what happens to your interview and collection materials? Click HERE to find out! Every Veterans Day and Memorial Day, the CCSU VHP publishes a newsletter, and every month, we highlight a veteran's collection from our database.
As an archive partner with the Library of Congress, Central Connecticut State University participates in the Veterans History Project by focusing on the oral histories of Connecticut's residents.
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