History Wars World War II

Eight brothers fought in World War II

In a scene that parents would call a nightmare, an incredible eight family members fought during World War II.
fedele brothers
The Fedele family was named to the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame in 2012. (Image via New York Senate)

In a scene that parents would call a nightmare, an incredible eight family members fought during World War II. Today, there are laws in place (and fewer families with so many siblings to enlist), but back in the 1940s, there were no such qualms. In the case of the Fedele family, eight of the 11 sons would see battle. The offspring of Philip and Angelina headed to the frontlines one by one. Remarkably, every one of them returned home alive. 

Even at the time, the brothers’ service made newspaper headlines for beating such incredible odds. They also printed that it was likely the most members of a single family to serve in a war. (Surprisingly, there are at least two other instances of eight brothers fighting in one war.)

Who were the brothers who served in WW2?

First, Anthony Fedele enlisted in the Marines in 1939. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the infamous bombing, but survived the attack. 

Soon after, his seven brothers also joined the service. Interestingly, Anthony falls in the middle of the lineup; his actions convinced his older and younger brothers alike to join the cause. 

Oldest to youngest, they were: Joseph (33), Frank (29), Nunzio (24), Vincent (22), Anthony (21), Patrick (18), Generino (Gerald) (16), Salvatore (15). (Ages as of 1941.)

As for the remaining three brothers, the two eldest, William and Michael, received deferments, as they worked in defense plants. While Victor, the youngest, was too young at the time. He later served during the Korean War. Brothers Anthony and Sam were also still active at this time. 

The Fedele family had also lost their mother in years prior; she passed away in 1936. Three sisters rounded out the count, for a total of 14 Fedele children.

Patriarch Philip was interviewed multiple times about his sons’ involvement in the war. He was quoted in 1944 as saying, “We’ll be so glad when our boys come home,” Fedele told the reporter. “Boy, then you’ll see a celebration. It will be the biggest and best we’ve ever had in the family — a regular feast for all of them.”

During the war, Philip wasn’t left alone; his daughter, Josephine Bianchi, and her family lived with him. She wrote to all eight brothers every day, listing local and national news, along with data that would interest each personality. 

In the same 1944 article titled “Remarkable Rochester,” Josephine said, “We worry so, and then a letter comes,” she stated of the correspondence. 

However, only two of the eight brothers were injured, and all returned home and the end of WWII. Joseph was shot in Okinawa and Patrick received injuries in a plane crash stateside. 

Here is where the Fedele brothers served in World War II

Anthony R. Fedele

(Marine Corps, b. 1920)—Cpl. Anthony Fedele served as an anti-aircraft machine gunner. He was a witness to the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and took part in the battles for Tulagi, Guadalcanal, and Midway.

Generino A. Fedele

(Marine Corps, b. 1925)—Aircraft Mechanic Pfc. Generino Fedele participated in the Philippines Island Campaign (1944-45), as well as in the capture and occupation of Peleliu.

Frank A. Fedele

(Army, b. 1912)—T/4 Frank Fedele served as a cook in the Southern Philippines with the 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion.

Nunzio C. Fedele

(Army, b. 1917)—Pfc. Nunzio Fedele served as a demolition specialist with the highly active and decorated 1st Infantry Division from Algeria, Sicily, and Tunisia, to the Ardennes, Central Europe, Normandy, Northern France, and Rhineland campaigns.

Patrick J. Fedele

(Army, b. 1923)—Pvt. Patrick Fedele served for 28 months. Due to an injury stemming from a plane crash during training, Patrick was never sent overseas.

Vincent L. Fedele

(Army Air Corps, b. 1919)—Sgt. Vincent Fedele served with the Headquarters Detachment of the 81st Fighter Group which flew P-39’s in the Mediterranean Theater, playing a role in the Anzio landings, as well as in India and China.

Joseph P. Fedele

(Navy, b. 1908)—S 1/c Joseph Fedele served with the 14th Naval Construction Battalion, better known as the Seabees, for two years. Joseph was the only brother to be wounded, hit by machine gun fire on Okinawa in 1945 for which he was awarded the Purple Heart.

Salvatore L. Fedele

(Navy, b. 1926)S 2/c Salvatore Fedele served in the Navy from August 1944 to June 1946, and took part in the Liberation and Occupation of the Philippines.