The Sixth Naval Beach Battalion achieved a post-invasion milestone 10 November 2003 when Lieutenant Commander Joseph
P. Vaghi, Jr., USNR (Ret.), delivered an uplifting speech at the United States Postal Service Headquarters' Veterans
Day Observance and World War II Memorial Stamp Unveiling. Commander Vaghi's speech emphasized the morale-boosting
effect of V-MAIL for U.S. servicemen fighting overseas during WWII. Marcelia Hall, wife of battalion medical officer
Dr. Ralph Hall, later remarked that "morale" in the 1940s was spelled "m-a-i-l." Veterans and their families were
guests of US Postmaster General John E. Potter for the moving and historical event.
Past stamp images "honor the military veterans who have played their part in the unfolding and unending story of
defending freedom and democracy. Some images honor the various services - the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and
Marine Corps. Others depict famous battles - Pearl Harbor, D-Day, and Iwo Jima. Still others show the aircraft or
ships that our veterans used in battle. Collectively these images forge one thought: that the American military
has always protected - and always will protect - our nation and its people."
Moments after the World War II Memorial Stamp is unveiled, Beachmaster Vaghi voices overwhelming approval and
congratulates Postmaster General "Jack" Potter. The stamp depicts the National WWII Memorial, symbolizing the
sacrifice and achievement of the entire World War II generation. Major General John P. Herring, Secretary of the
American Battle Monument Commission, announced that the National World War II Memorial will be dedicated in
Washington, D.C. 29 May 2004.
Joseph P. Vaghi, Jr, was born June 27, 1920, the third of nine children whose parents emigrated from Miano, Italy to
Bethel, Conn., where his father proudly worked as a seventh generation cabinet maker, writer, sculptor and inventor.
In 1939, Vaghi accepted an athletic scholarship in football from Providence College, R. I., graduating in 1942.
Continuing his education at Notre Dame University, he pursued a course in the Navy V-7 program and in May 1943,
he was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy.
During World War II, Vaghi served as the youngest "beachmaster" on Omaha Beach (Easy Red Sector) in Normandy, France,
landing at 7:35 a.m. on D-Day. Beachmaster Vaghi, in the black & white photo, explains the worth of invasion money
to French peasants 19 June 1944. Later he became a Division officer of the Okinawa D-Day landing team in the Pacific
Theatre, and served for five years in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theatres of the war. For service beyond the
call of duty, Vaghi was awarded the United States Bronze Star. He retired from the Navy with the rank of
In 1947, Vaghi married the former Agnes Crivella, a freelance writer from Punxsutawney, Pa. Together they raised four
sons: Peter, a Monsignor at St. Patrick's Church, Washington, D.C.; Vincent, a physician in Rockville and Germantown,
Md.; Nino, a graduate of Georgetown University and co-owner of National Mailing Systems, McLean, Va.; and Joseph III,
a graduate of Providence College and co-owner of National Mailing Systems, McLean, Va.
Vaghi continued his education while he and Agnes raised their family. He started classes at the School of Architecture
at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and in 1952 earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree.
Today Vaghi is compiling the history of the 6th Navel Beach Battalion, the naval unit attached to the U.S. Army's 5th
Engineer Special Brigade for Normandy operations, and has addressed civic, religious, business and veterans groups
on the subject of World War II and the meaning of patriotism, love of country and the role of the Navy.
U.S. Navy Beachmaster Joe Vaghi and his C-8 platoon coxswain, Ed Marriott, are appropriately photographed with SFC
(Ret.) Charles J. Bury, Jr. and "living historians" of the 29th Infantry Division. Although the 6th Naval Beach
Battalion was primarily responsible for getting troops of the 1st Infantry Division across their "C" Co. beach
sector on Normandy D-Day, elements of the 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Division mislanded on "Easy Red"
A field of 4,000 gold stars sculpted on the Freedom Wall of the National World War II Memorial, scheduled to be
dedicated Memorial Day, will commemorate the more than 400,000 American soldier and sailors who made the great
sacrifice liberating the world sixty years ago. A gold star in the window of homes across America in the 1940s
became the symbol of family sacrifice. Twenty-three personnel from the 6th Naval Beach Battalion will be represented
on the Freedom Wall, including four officers who never made it ashore on D-Day. Medical officer Dr. John F.
Kincaid, Jr. survived bloody Omaha, but less than a year later, was KIA during a kamikaze attack off Okinawa.
HERE WE MARK THE PRICE OF FREEDOM - the Freedom Wall photo is courtesy Richard Latoff / American Battle Monuments
Air-mail and V-MAIL not only helped the Allies win World War II, but also helped families understand the loss of their loved ones. The following Battalion members were KIA on Normandy D-Day: Navy Beachmasters
G.E. Wade, Len Lewis, Jimmy Allison and enlisted men, Morris Rickenbach, Amin Isbir, John Chase, George Abbott, John
O'Donnell, Charles Abel, Gilford Albertson, Ed Black, Francis Collins, George Higgins, Calvin Hoppes, Lawrence
Merideth, Virgil Mounts, John Murphy, John Petersson, T.I. Simmons and Alton Hudson. They will never be forgotten!
Post-invasion condolence letters written by Dr. Kincaid, Dr. Davey or "Russ D." and Battalion Commander Gene Carusi
can be read at the Jack Hagerty and Morris Rickenbach Internet sites.
Jack Hagerty and Morris Rickenbach's "B" Co. shipmate, Seaman 1/c Lawrence Powell, was represented at the postal
stamp unveiling by his wife Betty and son Mark Powell. Mark is an Annapolis graduate and retired Marine Corps
A signed copy of D-Day: The Greatest Invasion - A People's History by Dan van der Vat was presented to Postmaster
General Jack Potter. In the introduction of the book, John S. D. Eisenhower reminds the reader that for most WWII
veterans, "the year 2004 will represent the last ten-year anniversary of D-Day for nearly all of them." The author
writes, "Early on the morning of June 6, 1944, the mightiest amphibious invasion force in history headed for the
beaches of Normandy. Operation Overlord was its military name - but it would be known forever as D-DAY."
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