Richard Di Maggio
by Ney Raahauge
Mallon and I went into the army in June 1962, shortly after high school
graduation. We were stationed at Fort Ord for basic training. A week
later Leo Belletini and Jimmy Valentino arrived! Not in our same
barracks, but close. Three of us turned 18 in boot camp! What a time.
After boot camp we were shipped for Fort Eustis in Virginia, and were
assigned to land craft utilities. We were sent down the intercostal
waters for maneuvers off the Florida coast. But before we arrived at our
destination, we were pulled off the boats and sent back to Virginia. We
found out two days later that the boats we were on were sent to Florida
to prepare for the Cuba invasion. After that, we all ended up at a
different base driving DWYKS (army slang for “ducks,” which were open
boats that go from land into water and back).
Our active duty ended on December 20, 1962. It was the best Christmas
ever! We said goodbyes at the San Francisco Airport. My brother, Rob,
drove John and me home. Rich headed south. It was 20 or 25 years before
we were reunited. We also reunited with wives at our 45th
class reunion, and we’ve stayed in touch since then.
Rich was a great guy, with a wonderful wife. I miss him already.