Anthony DeSalle of Beaver Falls, PA served aboard the USS Teton (AGC-14) during WW II. He was an able bodied Seaman, manning the rails, swabbing decks, pulling lines, working the gun stations during combat, and doing just about whatever job was sent his way to keep the amphibious flagship of Rear Admiral Hall afloat.
We had met Anthony DeSalle before, although we did not know it until he showed up for his interview on a gray but warm December day in 2012. We first met a few years ago during the Spring on the steps of the National World War II Memorial in Washington DC. That’s where Tony (as his friends call him) first told us about his service aboard the USS Teton in the Pacific, the Kamikaze attacks they endured, and the incredible destruction he saw–first hand–at Hiroshima.
At 88, Tony’s memory is as sharp as ever. That made our interview interesting, or course, but what really struck us is the emotional thoughtfulness by which Tony remembers his wartime experiences. “It was sad to me to see what the Japanese people brought upon themselves,” he confides to us. “The people didn’t deserve what their military leaders did to them. I felt bad for them; it was horrible. A lot of guys didn’t feel that way, but I did.”