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Sgt Lena Mae Riggi Basilone
Birth: Mar. 7, 1913
Portland
Multnomah County
Oregon, USA
Death: Jun. 11, 1999
Lakewood
Los Angeles County
California, USA


Lena Mae Riggi was born on March 7, 1913 in Portland, Oregon. Her parents were Italian immigrants. When she reached adulthood she left Oregon to attend business school. During World War II she enlisted in the Marine Corps. She was stationed at Camp Pendleton where she served as a field cook on the base attaining the rank of Sergeant.

During her time there she met John Basilone, a Marine and the first United States decorated World War II hero. They were married on July 7, 1944 and spent some time together before John returned to the South Pacific. He was killed on February 19, 1945 in an exchange of heavy gunfire on Iwo Jima. Lena was notified of his death on March 7, 1945 -- her 32nd birthday. In 1949 Lena christened a Navy destroyer ship named the USS Basilone in her husband's honor.

Lena never remarried. She purchased a home in Lakewood, California and lived there for over 50 years until her death. She worked for the electric company and volunteered countless hours of her time at the Women's Marine Association, the American Veteran's Auxiliary, and the Long Beach Veteran's Hospital. Just three days after Lena's death a resolution was passed naming a 17 mile stretch of the San Diego (I-5) Freeway near Camp Pendleton 'Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Memorial Highway'.

Although the Veterans Administration offered to bury Lena in Arlington Cemetery near her husband, she refused the offer saying she "didn't want to cause trouble for anyone". She was laid to rest in the National Cemetery at Riverside, California.
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  James Riggi (1865 - 1938)
  Virginia Riggi (1874 - 1936)
 
 Spouse:
  John Basilone (1916 - 1945)*
 
*Calculated relationship

SGT, US MARINE CORPS
 
Burial:
Riverside National Cemetery
Riverside
Riverside County
California, USA
Plot: 50, 0, 5557
 
Maintained by: White Light
Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Offi...
Record added: Feb 25, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 334448
Sgt Lena Mae <i>Riggi</i> Basilone
Added by: Joseph Papalia
 
Sgt Lena Mae <i>Riggi</i> Basilone
Added by: CRob
 
Sgt Lena Mae <i>Riggi</i> Basilone
Added by: CRob
 
 
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God bless you on Halloween (All Hallow's Eve, early). Rest in Peace.
- Richard S. Barzelogna
 Added: Oct. 20, 2014
God bless you on Columbus Day. Rest in Peace.
- Richard S. Barzelogna
 Added: Oct. 13, 2014
God bless you throughout Autumn, the beautiful, fiery season of the Harvest. Rest in Peace.
- Richard S. Barzelogna
 Added: Oct. 9, 2014
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