CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY

JIMMY ROSSELLI and FAMILY

Camden born and raised Jimmy Rosselli wrote to me in the spring of 2015, with the idea of telling his family's story. Due to some real-life issues ( yes, there is life outside of the website!) it took a few months to get this together and into  web-page. One thing Jimmy mentioned is that his mom is a member of the Falconiero family, and as I have a few Falconiero pals, I am pretty sure that this page will give birth to another page about Jimmy's extended family. It's all good.... Camden stories that need to be told!

Phil Cohen
July 18, 2015

Jimmy's Story

I would like to share my life as best as I can remember , by telling a story about my mother and father, a love affair . They have both passed on. I think I own it to them both.

My dad, James Rosselli, was a World War II veteran who was drafted from Philadelphia. He was took part in the North Africa campaign, and served in Morocco. My dad saved every letter my mother sent to him, while he was in in the army. I have them all. After he was discharged they were married, on June 30, 1946 at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel church in Camden, New Jersey.

My mother, Rose Falconiero, was from South Camden. My grandparents had a grocery store at 901 South 5th Street. My uncle Paul was drafted in the Navy along with other relatives. I remember my mother telling me that during the war the air raid sirens would go off and the lights had to been turned off, and about rationing and other things.


1946 - Uncle Paul Falconiero with grandparents Mary and Nicholas Falconiero  

Back in the day as I can remember, Camden was a good place to live and grow up. My dad  worked at RCA in Camden, as machinist. My mother worked in a dress factory in Camden. We lived on Pfeiffer Street in East Camden. I graduated from Camden High in 1966. I was drafted 4-A in 1968, and completed basic at Fort Dix, then Advance infantry training at Fort Jackson. After that VIETNAM from May 10, 1968 to May 10, 1969 with the 9th Infantry Division. I am a combat veteran. My parents saved all the letters I sent home and I saved all my orders and medals. I was involved in 1998 when Camden County hosted The Traveling Wall, in Pennsauken at Cooper River Park. There are about 90 men on the wall from Camden County. On the DVRBS.com site I counted about 10 men from World War II that were in the 9th Infantry Division. I'm very proud to say I was with the 9th Infantry Division.

After completing AIT at Fort Jackson I received orders to to go to the Republic of Vietnam. I flew to Oakland, California. When I got there I was told to look at a billboard to see when I was schedule to depart for Vietnam. 

As a soldier in the United States Army, I arrived in khakis at an Air Force base, from there went to the 90th Replacement Center, where again names were posted on a board, of what unit or division you were assigned to and where you were going. Sure enough, my name came up on a list for the 9th Infantry Division. They were then south of Saigon at Camp Bearcat where I was I sent to report to. I remember being told that had moved farther south on the Mekong River, to a camp named Dong Tam. I was assigned to 2nd platoon, Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion of the 60th Infantry Regiment. 

This is Ronnie Pace. We were in a fire fight that morning on March 29, 1969, the next morning in the rice paddies a sniper shot him from across the rice paddies, he got up to brush his teeth, I got up and sat down, he got up again and was shot in the forehead... March 30, 1969. 

I know we were abroad one of these LSTs. I went into Dong Tam base camp with another buddy from the unit to identify him.

Ronnie's cousin Charles sent to this picture to me.

The guy in the center is Pete la Pena, from Los Angeles, he was in the 3rd platoon. His friends, actor Joe Pesci, in the Lakers hat, and me .... gotta love it !

When I came home from Vietnam, My parents called the Philadelphia Inquirer. A reporter and photographer came out for a story and they interviewed me. I still have the original picture. My parents also purchased a "welcome home" flag which I still have.


                     

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I don't and never have said that I was a hero, I just did what I was told to do like any other soldier. My highest rank was E5 sergeant. I kept the awards and medals received while in the service, and have stayed involved in veterans groups ever since, including the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Purple Heart Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Combat Infantry Badge.org. Mobile River Force Association (MRFA.org), and MRF.org. I am a past-president of South Jersey Vietnam Veterans.

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