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Anthony Molligo’s Military Service Honored

Editor’s note: The following is an essay submitted by Anthony Molligo about his father, Anthony Molligo. This is part of a series of essays, which were submitted by our readership for the Anton Newspapers Military Heroes Essay Contest with the American Airpower Museum of East Farmingdale and The Collings Foundation. Essay winners recently flew in historic aircraft stationed at the American Airpower Museum.

My dad, Anthony Molligo, like the 1.7 million World War II veterans still alive today, rarely, if ever, speaks of his service during WWII. The few snippets he shares usually occur when we are watching old WWII movies together and he would open up and tell me “how things really were.”   

Growing up in the 1960s, I never really gave a second thought to my father’s naval service during the war. He, after all, was just a machinist mate 3rd class, serving on a less than mighty troop transport ship—an LCI—Landing Craft/Infantry. He never spoke in detail about those times.   

The only wartime mementos he kept are his blue crackerjack uniform and old sea bag. When I asked him what he did with his other equipment, he told me he gave them away when he returned home. He never even bothered to send for the medals that were awarded to him for his service in Europe and the Pacific.

As I got older, and wiser, I wanted to know more about my dad, who is a first-generation American, born to Italian immigrants. What I have discovered was a newfound respect for the man and how brave he was.

In 1943, at age 18, my dad was drafted into the Navy. That winter, he was dispatched to Navy boot camp in upstate New York to learn, among other things, how to operate and repair ships’ engines. During that period of training, he didn’t know when or where he would be assigned for combat duty (at age 18, I was a college student and my biggest worry was what freshman English class to take.)

He eventually was given orders to serve aboard the USS LCI-530, a sea-going amphibious assault ship used to land infantry troops onto beaches. His first tour took him to Tunisia, where his ship supported the U.S. Army ground forces in Northern Africa.   He also took part in operations landing troops in Italy. 

In the early morning of June 6, 1944, his ship, carrying a contingent of U.S. soldiers, departed Dartmouth, England, for the beaches of Normandy, France. Moving slowly and silently, LCI-530 joined hundreds of other Navy ships in the English Channel.  

Though my dad was not on the beaches of Normandy during the initial assault, he saw and heard horrific images of war on that morning. Troop transports near his ship were sunk and German artillery shells burst all around as the 530 crew-assisted soldiers onto landing craft for the invasion. During that longest day, his ship remained on station supplying blankets and plasma for the injured soldiers on the beaches. The horror of D-Day echoed all around him.

A hero is a man who does what he can. My dad is a hero not for the landings in which he took part, the medals he won, or the inhumanity of war he witnessed. He is a hero because he served his country, during those terrifying times, with honor and dignity.   

“Bravo Zulu” to dad and the crew of USS LCI-530.

 

News

A clown named Renaldo performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic audience as part of the National Circus Project, which visited Levittown Public Library on Wednesday, July 16.

 

All 150 tickets available for the performance were sold out in this interactive magic show for children. Throughout the entire circus act, children laughed and raised their hands as high as they could to be chosen as one of Renaldo’s helpers.

 

Raising her hand to participate was three-year-old Kirsten Cantwell from Seaford. “She was upset that she didn’t get picked,” said her mother Melissa Cantwell.

 

Kirsten Cantwell goes to any activity offered at the library, and is starting to enjoy watching magic shows. According to her mother, she really enjoyed the performance.

 

In the circus show, National Circus Project performer, Al Calienes, acted as Renaldo the clown.

 

“The show has different components of acts in the circus,” explained Calienes. “We teach children circus moves.”

 

With the National Circus Project, children get to see magic tricks performed live. “We infuse enthusiasm by showing them, and they in turn will be able to repeat the process,” said Calienes.

Renaldo performed plate spinning, where he spun a plate on a stick and passed it along to the stick of one of his helpers from the audience, who then passed the plate down a line of three more helpers. This interactive way of teaching the children magic tricks really allows them to absorb what they are learning.

 

The National Circus Project travels and performs for elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools. When the National Circus Project is not going to schools, they perform at library shows, summer camps, and other types of events.

 

The performance entertains the adults as well as the children. “We involve everybody,” said Calienes. “Everybody’s engaged on some level or another. “

 

At every library performance, Calienes donates the children’s book he wrote and illustrated Renaldo Joins the Circus to the library. He feels that he owes a lot to the library system. “Anything that ever meant anything to me I learned in the library,” said Calienes.

 

Calienes learned how to draw from the library, which is how he became a commercial artist. One of the main characters he would always draw would be Renaldo the clown. “I wanted to make him real so I joined the circus,” he said.

 

Calienes has been performing with the National Circus Project for seven years and has been in the circus business going on 26 years.

 

The National Circus Project brings magic to children at any school, camp or library all over Long Island as well as across the country.

 

Last June, Nassau County passed legislation that allows for the deployment of a speed enforcement camera system in school zones for each of the 56 public school districts in the county. 

 

The new systems will be implemented throughout the county on July 25, and will be operational on scheduled school days throughout the year. 


Sports

Levittown’s Division Avenue High School varsity baseball team, under the direction of coach Tom Tuttle, won the Class A County Championship, garnering a third-place ranking in New York State. This is the team’s 13th county championship win and the second county championship for the school in the past four years.

 

In addition, senior Chris Reilly was named Championship MVP for throwing a complete game shutout in game two and going three for four with two RBIs. 

Taylor Traenkle, a junior at Division Avenue High School recently received the MVP award for the Nassau County Varsity Hockey League Association.

 

Traenkle, who plays no. 9 for the Levittown Ice Falcons, led the way averaging 2.8 points a game with a total of 25 goals and 23 assists in just 17 games. 


Calendar

Lazy Days Of Summer - July 26

Flea Market - July 27

Darlene Prince and the Bragg Hollow Band - July 28


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com