(Nov. 10, 1944) – Aviation Ordnanceman 1/c Anthony Di Petta was reported missing in action in a fiery plane crash in the South Pacific on Sept. 10.
His plane, together with other aircraft left the carrier on a pre-invasion strike against enemy installations and shipping in the Palau Islands. The attack was made in the face of persistent and accurate anti-aircraft fire.
Mr. and Mrs. Sisto Di Petta of Columbia Avenue, received a letter from his commanding officer, Lt. Commander S. L. Prickett, USN, telling that he was lost in an airplane crash at sea.
The letter follows:
“It was with considerable regret that I had to wire the Bureau of Naval Personnel that your son, Anthony, was missing as a result of an airplane crash at sea.
“Your son was in a plane piloted by Lt. J.R. Manown and took off or Malakai Island in the Palau group. The plane was in excellent shape. Just short of the target, the plane went into a steep dive, entered the water and burst into flames.
“We have listed your son as missing because no trace has been found of the plane or any of the crew. However, it is only fair to you to let you know what we think so that you will not maintain any heart breaking hopes for his survival. Because of the facts of the crash as we know them, we hold out no hopes for his survival.
“Your son was one of the first of the crew to report to his squadron. Since that time he has conducted himself in a manner to reflect pride on his family and on the Naval Service, whose traditions he maintained to the highest degree. Your son is badly missed by both the officers and the men of this squadron.”
Di Petta who has served five years in the Navy was attached to a Torpedo Squadron of the Air Force when he was lost in action.
Di Petta entered the Navy in 1939, taking his boot training at Newport, R. I. His first assignment was as a crewman aboard the USS Wasp. When that ship was torpedoed in September 1942, he spent six hours in a lifeboat in the Coral Sea before being picked up.
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