World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II as a Corporal in the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Marines, 5th Amphibious Corps. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery and sacrifice on Engebi Island, Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands, on the night of February 20, 1944. His citation reads “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with an assault company in action against enemy Japanese forces. Highly vulnerable to sudden attack by small, fanatical groups of Japanese still at large despite the efficient and determined efforts of our forces to clear the area, Cpl. Damato lay with 2 comrades in a large foxhole in his company's defense perimeter which had been dangerously thinned by the forced withdrawal of nearly half of the available men. When 1 of the enemy approached the foxhole undetected and threw in a hand grenade, Cpl. Damato desperately groped for it in the darkness. Realizing the imminent peril to all 3 and fully aware of the consequences of his act, he unhesitatingly flung himself on the grenade and, although instantly killed as his body absorbed the explosion, saved the lives of his 2 companions. Cpl. Damato's splendid initiative, fearless conduct and valiant sacrifice reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his comrades”. His Medal was posthumously awarded to his family on April 9, 1945. The United States Navy “Gearing”-class destroyer “USS Damato” (DD-871) was named in his honor.
Gravesite Details Entered the service from Pennsylvania.