The generations include Joseph LaPorta, or LaPorte, who served in both his native Italian Army and in the U.S. Army after immigrating to the United States.
Joseph’s brother, Franchesco, also served in the U.S. military, as did Joseph’s four sons, Anthony, Joseph Jr., Frank and William Charles. Also, a grandson, Mark LaPorte (Charles’s son), served in the U.S. Navy from December 1983 to December 1987.
The story of Joseph LaPorta began in November 1889 with his birth in Pietza Ar Marino, Sicily. His father, Anthony, worked for the city’s Department of Tax. Although the family lived in town, they farmed about five acres the family owned about five miles from town.
Charles “Dude” LaPorte, son of Joseph, said the family would walk to the farm, where they had a one-room day house. There, they would stay when they went to the farm to plant and tend the crops and care for the family’s milk goats.
Around 1910, when Italy was at war with Libya, the Italian government picked Joseph up from the street and sent him to Tripoli to fight. Charles explained that the Italian government didn’t use the mail to notify young men they were needed to fight. Instead, they used the wagon system. “The army would send wagons into the cities and towns and pick up any young men of the appropriate age they found on the street, and that’s what happened to my father,” he said.