George A. Turano Jr

  • Private
  • WW II


George “Billy” Anthony Turano Jr. was born in Westerly, Rhode Island on 28 March 1925. He was the son of Giorgia and Immaculata Turano. He graduated from the Westerly High School in February 1943 in the “speeded up program” adopted by the school during World War II. George was an outstanding student who enjoyed art, crafts and was a member of the Rhode Island Honor Society. George entered Rhode Island State College (RISC) in February 1943 with the class of 1947. He participated in the Army ROTC program. Like so many of his class mates, he left RISC after one semester to join the U.S. Army on 4 June 1943.

Private Turano was assigned to Camp Croft, South Carolina for infantry training before being shipped to North Africa in November 1943. In December 1943, he joined the 135th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division in Italy. The 135th Infantry Regiment was engaged in heavy fighting in the battle for Monte Patano and captured one of its four peaks before being relieved on 9 December 1943.

In January 1944, the 135th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division was back on the front line battering the Bernhardt Line defenses. Persevering through bitter fighting along the Mignano Gap, the regiment used goat herds to clear enemy mine fields. During the period 24 January through 9 February 1944, the first Battle of Monte Cassino, the 34th pushed across the Gari River into the hills behind and attacked Monastery Hill which dominated the town of Cassino.

The performance of the 34th Infantry Division in the tough Italian mountains has been called one of the finest operations carried out by any soldiers during World War II. The losses on both sides were extremely high. Private George Anthony Turano Jr. was killed during the battle for Monastery Hill on 28 January 1944, two months short of his nineteen birthday. He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge. His body was returned to the United States in February 1949 for burial with full military honors in the St. Sebastian Cemetery, Westerly, Rhode Island.

Private George Anthony Turano, Jr., was a son of Rhode Island State College who answered the call to service during World War II and gave his life in service to Rhode Island and America. He was a member of the “Greatest Generation.”