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Cadet Charlie Alfano - 1947

The First Italian American Brothers to Graduate from West Point

Angelina and Nicolo Alfano both came from Racalmuto, Sicily soon after the turn of the century. They met and married in New York City and pursued the American dream, raising four children with a goal of each receiving a college education. The first born was Charles, followed by Anthony, then the two girls of the family, Sally and Tina.

When Nicolo asked an American friend, “What’s the best school in the United States?”  “West Point,” was the answer provided. “That’s where my sons are going to go,” he asserted.

With Nicolo’s discipline and Angelina’s nurturing, all four children went to college, a rarity at the time. Sally became an educator with degrees from Queens College and Columbia University, while Tina became a medical doctor. Even more remarkable, both boys went to West Point and were among the first Italian Americans to attend the United States Military Academy and the first Italian American brothers to both attend the prestigious institution.

After graduation from West Point in 1947 and his service in the Army, Anthony earned his law degree from St. John’s University in New York. He had a dynamic legal practice and upon retirement, enjoyed life with his wife and four children, until he succumbed to cancer at the age of 85.

Charles graduated West Point in January 1943. He was commissioned as a Signal Corps Officer focusing on intelligence training and served on a Counterintelligence Staff. As a senior officer, he worked to improve signal’s capabilities and retired from the Army with the rank of Colonel. After leaving the military, he put his leadership skills to use by leading procurement programs for several aircraft companies.

Charles recently celebrated his 100th birthday and is still going strong, as are his sisters, Dr. Tina Alfano and Sally Valenti, epitomizing the American dream. Angelina and Nicolo are surely looking down from heaven and are bursting with pride.