Vincent A. Simonetti, 98, Southport, Nc died June 6, 2023.
Born in Brooklyn, NY 01/13/1925, he was the second of four children. His parents were Italian immigrants. Vincent loved baseball. When not in school or working in his father’s grocery store, he was playing baseball. Even though he grew up in Brooklyn, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, it was the Bronx Bombers – the NY Yankees - that was his team.
At the age of 17 he enlisted in the US Navy on 3/22/1942. Shortly after, he entered Naval Training School, boot camp, in Newport, RI. Upon completion of basic training, he was sent to The Boston Institute for Machinist Mate training on turbo electric ship propulsion systems. After graduation, he was ready to be assigned to a ship to put his learned skills to use. However, the Navy had other plans. He was sent to the Island of Adak in the SW Aleutian Islands and became a Provost Marshall in November of 1942. There were believed to be 10,000 Japanese soldiers on the lower Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska. The US military began a campaign to oust the Japanese from these islands. On 5/11/1943, the US attacked the Japanese on Attu. 2300 Japanese and 550 Americans lost their lives. This was followed by an attack on the Island of Kiska on 8/15/1943. The Japanese were evacuated before the attack; none were found. He spent 20 months in the Aleutian Islands supporting these attacks and living in Quonset huts.
New orders moved him to NY and more schooling. This time he was assigned a ship, AKA-25 USS Circe, an attack transport ship. He was a member of the first crew aboard during the launch and christening at Walsh-Kaiser Shipyard, Providence, RI. The new captain molded this new crew into a seagoing unit by the fall of 1944 in the Chesapeake Bay off Norfolk, VA. Then onto Pearl Harbor thru the Panama Canal. In Pearl Harbor, it picked up Marines and explosives. Next stop, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. In-route they crossed the equator; "Polliwogs" became "Shell Backs" - Davy Jones left his impression. For 6 weeks the ship, in extreme heat, shuttled back and forth from Guadalcanal, Russel Islands, and Floridas Islands staging for the invasion of Okinawa, Japan. USS Circe was assigned to a Transport Division, combat loaded and sailed in convoy for Ulithi Island 3/15/45. The night before arriving at invasion center Point Bolo, Okinawa, they heard the broadcast of "Tokyo Rose" remarks. On 4/01/45 the invasion started. It was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific theater of WWII. Sleep became a thing of the past for 6 days. It was reported USS Circe gunners shot down 2 Japanese Kamikaze planes. The Circe had no casualties or damage during the first daring attack on the homeland of Japan. The land battle took 81 days, but the mission of the USS Circe was completed in 6. For the next 6 months, USS Circe sailed between Saipan, Marshall Islands, Pearl Harbor, and San Francisco shuttling troops to the states.
New orders arrived and Vincent was reassigned to the USS Admiral S.W. Sims, a troop transport. He boarded the ship in Manila, Philippines along with 5000 troops. Last stop San Francisco arriving 11/25/45. He was then given 24 hours to get on a plane to NY and on 12/9/45 was discharged in Lido Beach, L.I., N.Y. as a First Class Machinist Mate.
Vincent remained in the Navy Active Reserves and drilled at the Brooklyn Navy Yard until 5/10/51 when he was given orders to return to active duty. He reported to Norfolk, VA and boarded the DD-781 USS Robert K Huntington for the Korean Conflict. They trained off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and supported the conflict in the Pacific. He was discharged 7/29/52. This time, it was for good since he was married and expecting his first child.
After WWII, and being home 2 days, his father told him he needed to get a job which he did at Built-Rite Baby Carriage Company in Brooklyn, NY. He started as supervisor in the factory and learned the business. Now earning a living, Vincent met his wife to be, Frances Falco. They were married 7/10/1948. They purchased their first house in Massapequa, L.I. They had 3 children: Sal, Donna and Vincent.
A promotion to Sales and a territory in NJ prompted the family to move to Union, NJ. He eventually became a manufacturer’s representative and sold for numerous companies including Simmons Juvenile furniture and mattresses. While working, he never lost his love for baseball and coached Little League Base Ball for many years. He was also active in the Knights of Columbus and enjoyed many wonderful summers with the family at the Jersey shore. He finally retired at the age of 70 and became very active in the community senior center where he was President of the Tuesday and Friday clubs. He loved planning dinner trips and Atlantic City casinos visits. He always called bingo and instructed line dancing.
He suffered two loses, his daughter Donna to cancer in 1997 and his wife Frances in 2012. After the loss of his wife, he sold the house he lived in for 55 years to live near his son Sal and daughter-in-law Christina in Rockaway, NJ. He then moved to Southport (St. James) in 2020 to live with Sal and Chris. He joined the American Legion Post 454 in 2021 and loves the comradery of the Veterans and the warm weather of NC. His next goal: 100th birthday.
Surviving are sons Salvatore “Sal” Simonetti (Christina), Southport, NC and Vincent Simonetti (Laura), Flanders, NJ; sister, Marie Yoro, Massapeaka, NJ; six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Services will be conducted in Randolph TWP, NJ under the direction of Tuttle Funeral Homes, 272 Route 10, Randolph TWP, NY.
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