MG Charles Salvatore D'Orsa

MG Charles Salvatore D'Orsa

Sicilia, Italy
Death 22 Dec 1995 (aged 84)
Cape Coral, Lee County, Florida, USA
Burial West Point, Orange County, New York, USA
Plot Section XVIII, Row D, Site 33.
Memorial ID 126978371 · View Source
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USMA Class of 1932. Cullum No. 9538. He was the son of Nicolo D'Orsa and Caterina Schiro D'Orsa. On Sunday, April 21, 1935, he married Rose Marie Onorato, daughter of Frank A. Onorato of Brooklyn, New York at Holy Cross Church in New York City. On December 23, 1972 as Charles Salvatore D'Orsa, he married Margaret Josephine Mauney at Fort Myer, Virginia.

Charles S. D’Orsa, who was born in Sicily, grew up playing stickball in the street and swimming in the East River off a coal yard dock. He attended Public School 135 at 51st Street and 1st Avenue on New York’s East side. His parents admonished him to keep away from the boys who hung around the pool room and thought his ambition to attend West Point was strange. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School and maintained an 87 average in the New York Regents Examinations. He graduated at age 17 and won an appointment to the United States Military Academy. He graduated in 1932, number 232 in a class of 263. He was one of 432 cadets who entered as plebes with 169 leaving before graduation.

In Italy during World War II he was responsible for seeing that General Mark Clark’s 5th Army was supplied with food and ammunition. In Korea his 180th Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division was involved in the Battle of the Punchbowl. I took up cigar smoking at Sandbag Castle when one night it looked as if I had lost all 11 men on a critical patrol action, he said, but all but one came back.

He credited his father for teaching him to treat men as men. In 1911, his father, Nicola D’Orsa with his wife, Caterina emigrated from Sicily. Charles D'Orsa was six-months-old. His father had been drafted into the Italian army’s Bersaglieri troops in 1896 when he was 19-years-old. He served two years. When Charles D'Orsa graduated from the USMA in 1932 his father told him, Be fair, but firm with your troops. You never lead men by kicking them.

His parents were residents of 4305 65th Street in Woodside, Queens, New York City. My father has two items hanging in his living room. His citizenship paper and my West Point diploma. He is mighty proud of that diploma. He says I can have it when he dies. My father is a great man. He speaks broken English, but he speaks sense.

Once I was kidding him about getting out of the Army, because no one ever got rich in the Army. I told him that I’d go out and give my fellow New Yorkers some competition in the business world.

My father responded, What do you want money for? No matter how much you leave when you die they’ll only complain it wasn’t enough.

In 1959 in Berlin, Germany General D'Orsa's title was Commanding General of Berlin Command. He was in charge of 4,000 United States troops. He reported to the city’s American commandant, Major General Barksdale Hamlett. The motto on his office wall was Illegitimi Non Carborundum which he translated as Don’t let the so and so’s grind you down.

He said American soldiers in Berlin were about the best-behaved soldiers in the world which he thinks is due to the fact that the soldiers know why they are here.

They know they are here not only to fulfill the mission of safeguarding this outpost of democracy, but to act as true representatives of the United States. Their conduct must be such that they do not feed propaganda material to the surrounding Communists who are avidly and viciously seeking to put the United States in a bad light. We do everything to tell them that an incident here is more than an incident, more than just misbehaving. It is aiding Communism; it helps Communist propaganda.

In 1935, he was married to Rose Marie Onorato of Brooklyn. They were the parents of one daughter, Catherine Diane, who was 17-years-old in 1959 and a freshman at St. Joseph’s College for Women in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Source: The Times Record, Troy, New York, Thursday Evening, April 16, 1959.

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  • Created by: SLGMSD
  • Added: 27 Mar 2014
  • Find a Grave Memorial 126978371
  • Major D.H. Dale
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for MG Charles Salvatore D'Orsa (16 Jan 1911–22 Dec 1995), Find a Grave Memorial no. 126978371, citing United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, West Point, Orange County, New York, USA ; Maintained by SLGMSD (contributor 46825959) .