Gene Battista.


Gene Battista.








Original Format

Photographs, log book


Alda Lee Griffith Battista


Framed portrait (54 x 36 cm)
Page from log book (18 x 12 cm)
Crew photograph (20 x 25 cm)
Triple photo (20 x 25 cm)
Portrait (20 x 25 cm)
Gene and Helen Hurlburt (12.5 x 17.5)

Gene Battista was born on July 12, 1922 in Warren, Ohio to Charles (Castel Frantano, Di Chieti Italy) and Inez (Romitto) Battista of Rivisondoli, Aquila, Italy. He attended Warren G. Harding High School, graduating in 1940 and working as an advertising employee at the Tribune Chronicle. Following the war Gene worked for Harts Jewelers, and in 1954 purchased his own store, Gene’s Jewelry. The store was originally located in the corner of the Park Hotel, located at 104 North Park Avenue in Warren, but later moved to 112 North Park. His first date with his wife-to-be Alda Lee Griffith was in Cleveland at the 1947 World Series, and they married on April 24th, 1948. Gene and Alda had four children, the twins Jean Ann (Taylor) and Alesia Louise (Laughlin) born on September 9, 1950, John Thomas born on November 21, 1952 and Patricia Christine (Fleeger) born on August 12, 1960.

Gene enlisted in the Navy in October, 1942 and trained at Highland Park Junior College in Detroit as an aviation cadet, and at Iowa University, taking his PBM patrol bomber training at Pensacola, Florida and graduating in 1944. He joined the VPB27 in Harvey Point, North Carolina and underwent further bomber training in Key West, Florida. Gene was stationed at Kaneone Bay Naval Station, Hawaii and then at Okinawa, flying missions on the Kwajalein Atoll, Guam, Palau and Leyte islands. He flew combat duty in the battles at Saipan, Iwo Jima, Kermaretto, Okinawa and the Japanese and Chinese coast lines. He flew about fifty different combat missions against the Japanese, sinking one of the Japanese cruisers, evading kamikaze pilots and once flying his crew 600 miles back to base on a dying bomber that had lost an engine. He flew ofver 2500 hours, never losing a crew member. He was discharged as a Lieutenant Senior Grade.

On September 19th, 1945 Gene returned to mainland U.S. to serve as a flight instructor at the Atlanta Naval Station. His last day flying was October 30, having logged in approximately 2500 flight hours, and his active service ended on December 6. Gene met Lieutenant Gallagher, the man who would take over his plane and whose family was from the Mahoning Valley and owned the Byard-Voit drug store, but tragically Gallagher’s plane went missing three weeks after their meeting. After being discharged Gene returned to Warren. When his flight passed over a body of water he failed to recognize he feared he was on the wrong plane, but the water in question turned out to be the Mosquito Reservoir, constructed while he’d been away. Gene was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.


Alda Lee Griffith Battista

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