Mount Union, Huntingdon County, Pa- Locals are remembering a man recognized as one of the most highly decorated veterans in Central Pennsylvania.
Thusday, hundreds gathered at the Robert D Heath Funeral Home in Mount Union to pay their repects for a viewing of 99-year-old Joseph Giacobello. A man many say was “one-of-a-kind” and treated everyone like they were family.
Very few locals ever heard Giacobello recounting tales of his days as a Lieutenant and Captain in the Army during World War II. They said Joe was a humble man, who served his community.
But, upon recently hearing of Joe’s heroic acts, many expressed even greater appreciation for his character.
Serving on the European front after being drafted into the Army, Giacobello landed in Normandy, France. In one of his many heroic acts, Giacobello led his company in an attack on the French Village of Hellimer, where he and only two others stopped a machine gun and knocked over a Panther tank, saving what many believe to be countless lives.
For his many heroic acts in combat, Giacobello earned the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, and two Purple Hearts, among other honors.
“He was a member of the greatest generation, a hero both in the military and at home here as a civilian, and that’s quite a combination,” said Lieutenant Colonel Fred Querry, a retired Army Officer and lifelong friend to Giacobello.
Many WTAJ spoke with were at a loss for words when asked what Giacobello meant to the Mount Union community.
“He was an amazing man. There are not enough words in the English vocabulary that could ever express what kind of man he is,” said Patrick Michael Crouse, a lifelong friend to Giacobello.
Giacobello will be laid to rest Friday in a Garden of Honor at the Mount Union Cemetery, following a funeral mass at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Mount Union.