DIANGELO, Claudio (Clyde) L., Sr., 93, of Weirton, died February 28, 2013, at the Weirton Medical Center.
He was born April 11, 1919, in Steubenville, Ohio, son of the late James and Lena Sacco D’Angelo.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 60 years, Olga Florenzo DiAngelo, whom he married on April 17, 1948, brother, Archie T. DeAngelo, two infant brothers, Aldo and Alchido D’Angelo, and son-in-law, John D. Kendrick.
Surviving are one son, Clyde L. (Sonja) DiAngelo Jr. of Steubenville, daughter, Sheila Kendrick of Weirton, four grandchildren, Danielle (Trevor) Kalinowski, Michael DiAngelo, Joshua and Justin Kendrick, two great grand children, Ty Angelo and Vinny Joseph Kalinowski, and sister, Nellie Collins of Jacksonville, FL.
In his early days, Clyde worked as a shipping clerk in Wheeling Steel. Being laid off, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on July 1, 1938.
Little did he know when he enlisted that he would be in World War II from its inception at Pearl Harbor to its conclusion in 1945. After Boot Camp training at Parris Island, SC, Clyde served at Indian Head, MD., the site of a Naval Base specializing in gun and rocket propellants. From there, he attended Sea School at Norfolk, VA. His next duty station was on the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38). While there, the engineering plant was largely broken down for overhaul. Clyde was helping maintain one of the ship’s five inch guns when an accident occurred nearly costing him three fingers.
As a member of the 4th Defense Battalion, he was deployed in February, 1941 to defend the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While there, he earned his Corporal Stripes. The Battalion arrived in the Pacific in time to become one of the RAINBOW Five. Its strength was divided between Pearl Harbor and Midway, and helped defend both bases against Japanese attacks on December 7, 1941. Clyde arrived at Pearl Harbor just a few days prior to the Japanese surprise attack. Though caught by surprise, Marines of the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Defense Battalions fought back as best they could. These units had eight anti-aircraft machine guns in action within six minutes after the first bombs exploded. They responded to the surprise attack with small arms and an eventual total of 25 machine guns, claiming the destruction of three enemy aircraft.
After December 7, 1941, Clyde remained at Pearl Harbor for a short while helping reload ammunition and supplies. He then found himself bound for Wake Island on December 15, 1941 on the Troop Ship USS Tangier (AV-8) which was loaded with supplies, ammunition, and equipment.
The Battle of Wake Island began simultaneously with the Attack on Pearl Harbor, actually December 8, 1941, but ended quickly on December 23, 1941, with the surrender of the American forces to the Empire of Japan. Tangier’s relief expedition received orders to turn back, allowing the crew to cross the International Dateline going and returning, therefore, observing Christmas twice.
After a brief stay on Midway Island, Clyde was among the first Marines to land in the South Pacific, New Hebrides Islands. To forestall the threat to the sea lanes between Hawaii and Australia, the 4th Defense Battalion in July 1942 provided a detachment to protect Espiritu Santo, the largest of the New Hebrides Islands. On the way to Espiritu Santo, they were engaged with a Japanese submarine. Using a destroyer as an escort that was dropping depth charges along the way, the Japanese submarine was destroyed.
While on the island, Clyde was in charge of a few hundred natives with the task of clearing the jungle to construct roadways. Upon completion of the roads, Clyde, along with many others in his outfit, contracted malaria and was sent to New Zealand to recuperate.
Clyde returned to duty in the South Pacific, Guadalcanal, where preparations were underway for the invasion of the Japanese homeland.
Due to President Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb, (actually two) there was no invasion. Clyde was awarded a Combat Action Ribbon by S. A. Mackey, Head of Military Awards Branch.
Clyde returned to civilian life in October 1945, and back to Wheeling Steel employment as a rigger where he completed 35 years of service in 1981.
At age 85, he was awarded an Honorary Diploma from Steubenville High School, class of 2004.
Having met Ted Williams while in the service, Clyde was an avid Boston Red Sox fan. He attended many games in Cleveland’s old Municipal Stadium when the Sox were in town until Williams’ retirement in 1960. Clyde enjoyed wine making, gardening, bocci, spending time with his grandchildren and attending their activities. He also enjoyed being with his “Number 1 Buddies.”
Clyde was a member of St. Joseph The Worker Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus, the V.F.W., the American Legion, the Tri-State Marine Corps Club, and the Pearl Harbor Survivor’s Club.
Visitation will be on Sunday from 3-7 p.m. at Greco-Hertnick Funeral Home, 3219 Main Street, Weirton, WV.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Church, Weirton, WV. Interment in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Steubenville, Ohio, with military services by the American Legion Honor Guard.
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