Philip Coviello gallantly served and protected our country while the world was threatened by savage tyrants abroad during World War II. Phil was born in Melfi, Italy, in 1921 and came to America in 1930. He quickly learned the language of his new country and was one of a few bi-lingual students at school.
He was a machinist and Golden Gloves amateur boxer in the Bronx, New York before being inducted in the U.S. Army in April of 1944. He would however soon shift his fighting skills from the ring to the war front in the European Theater of Operations.
In late 1944, Phil was in the thick of the Battle of the Bulge. There, he fought the enemy in the Ardennes, the same forest that his father Vincenzo had fought against the German army 30 years earlier. Vincenzo fought with the U.S. Army’s 77th Infantry Division during World War I, receiving the Purple Heart for injuries sustained during a mustard gas attack.
In February 1945, Phil’s 2nd Battalion advanced against the infamous German Siegfried Line. His battalion was awarded a citation for ‘extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry’ in their fight against the enemy’s last major line of defense.
In Europe, many of Phil’s close friends made the ultimate sacrifice and never made it back home. In September 1945, the Japanese surrendered, just before Phil was to be sent to the Pacific front. Nevertheless, he was advanced in rank to Sergeant and later would be in charge of training recruits in Fort Dix, New Jersey.
Phil passed away in 2009. He said of his service, “I don’t miss the fighting and the foxholes, but I am glad I did it so that I could pick up where my father left off from his days of fighting in World War I.”
Submitted by John William Del Russo, Sr. retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer. Born in Newark, New Jersey, he now resides with his family in Virginia Beach, Virginia.