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Michael Pessolano '42

Date of birth: December 9, 1919

Date of death: July 30, 1945

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

From the 1942 Lucky Bag:


Michael was lost on July 30, 1945 when USS Indianapolis (CA 35) was sunk by a Japanese submarine.


His father was an investigator with the Federal Government in the 1930s; he was noted to have helped convict Capone. From the Wilkes Barre Times Leader on July 7, 1938:

Visitors to the office of the Federal Alcohol Tax Unit in the Post Office Building these days find Chief Investigator Michael Pessolano in good humor as he gazes at a large photograph of a young man in uniform resting on his desk. The uniform is that of a military school cadet but a reporter yesterday learned that the boy who posed for the photograph, M. Richard Pessolano, has changed uniforme,

“My boy is now a midshipman in Annapolis,” said the Federal agent, who achieved nation-wide recognition a few years ago as the operative who broke up the famous Genelli alcohol ring canspiracy. “That picture was taken when he was a student at Pennsylvania Military College but now he wears the blue of the Navy—and it represents the achievement of an ambition he first developed - seven years ago when a Navy medical officer who visited us in Philadelphia aroused the kid’s admiration by the slick white uniform he wore. The boy has never stopped trying since then to become a Navy officer and it looks as if he will make it.”

The Pessolano boy entered the Naval Academy with this year’s plebe class. He won special recognition for having attained first rank as a student-in all his classes in South Philadelphia High School and P. M. C. at Chester. In the latter school he won the Persiani Prize for the highest average in mathematics. He intends to go out for several sports, including crew, the Federal agent said; although his greatest activity at P. M. C. was in fencing.

Silver Star

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Michael Richard Pessolano (NSN: 0-123426), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while in Command of a section of two Motor Torpedo Boats, which on the night of 13 - 14 November 1943, while patrolling close off shore of the Shortland Islands Group, was fired on by an enemy 3-inch shore battery. Lieutenant Pessolano immediately ordered his section to take evasive action, which his boat, the U.S.S. Patrol Boat Torpedo ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-FIVE (PT-155), did. However, on perceiving that the U.S.S. PT-154 had been hit and was near dead in the water, he returned to her assistance, laying smoke to screen her from the enemy searchlights and further shell fire. He then led the U.S.S. PT-154 to a point of safety where the enemy's guns and searchlights could no longer bear, transferred the dead and wounded to his own boat and since the U.S.S. PT-154's Commanding Officer had been severely wounded and her Executive Officer killed, Lieutenant Pessolano took command of the damaged boat and brought her safely back to port. Lieutenant Pessolano's actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Commander South Pacific: Serial 00163 (January 14, 1944)
Action Date: November 13 - 14, 1943
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Patrol Boat Torpedo 155 (PT-155)

Wartime Service

He was the commanding officer of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 9 from January 12 to August 1, 1944.

Class of 1942

Michael is one of 82 members of the Class of 1942 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.