Personal Histories

Frank Boffi MM1/c

Orlando, Fl. June 8, 2005

DATELINE: Cranston, Rhode Island. Thursday, May 18, 1922. A cloudy day of little significance except in the household of Antonio & Maria Boffi at 1598 Cranston Street. Zia Nona (as she was best known) a midwife had just delivered a boy to them, Francesco (Frank) was born. The 7th son and 9th child of the eventual family of ten children. He was blessed by God to be born into a family of such great love and compassion for all humanity. Maria had a great heart, she loved every one, not only in her family, but it seemed she loved the world. All humans were “children of God “in her eyes.

The second blessing given to Frank on that great day was that he was born in the greatest country in the world. The United States of America was to be Frank’s future home and one he learned to love very dearly.

Just seven short years after Frank’s birth the world seemed to change for the worse, a change that Frank could not understand for many years to come. All he knew was that many of the gifts and other material things seemed to be missing in his life. It was the beginning of “The Great Depression”

Thank God for my brothers and my mother’s great love for all of us, we survived the bad days and emerged as a loving family. Now my story about how I got to where I am today.

Having made it through 12 years of school with the guidance and hand-me-downs of my brothers, I became the first of the nine to graduate from high school, I graduated from Cranston, R. I. high school January 1941. Stella and I had been dating for a couple of years. We decided to get engaged on Dec. 6, 1941. Next morning was a very eventful day in history. To quote President Roosevelt “It will be a day of infamy”. It was PEARL HARBOR DAY! I was working in Universal Winding Company where we produced spinning machines for the textile industry. Within 6 months most of the plant was setup to manufacture the Johnson Semi-automatic Rifle. The marine corp. purchased and used them in WWII.

I never wanted to be drafted so I went to enlist in the Navy 2 months after Stella and I married. She continued to work for Johnson Arms while I went into boot camp. I served my boot training in Newport, R. I. for 6 weeks. They were anxious to get us out to schools and the fleet. I was fortunate to be selected to attend Wentworth Institute in Boston, Mass… After 16 week I graduated with a MM2C rating. Having finished in the top 3 percentile, I was offered an opportunity to submit our my name for consideration to OCS. Well needless to say I got no further than the first interview. I was rejected because I was married, in those days one could not go to OCS if he was married. So, off to the fleet I went. I was assigned to the USS BEARNADOU DD 153 (4 stacker, commissioned Nov. 1917)

It was an experience I will never forget. I found out real quickly why they were called “Tin cans”. That was all she was, a real tin can. We did make 3 invasions with it in the Mediterranean Sea and managed to survive. Having been diverted while on the way to England for the D-Day invasion, we ended up in Charleston, S.C. where I was issued orders to take 10 day leave and then report to Norfolk, Va. For new construction school. I was assigned to the USS Frank Knox but ended up swapping with a Frank Vasquez who wanted to go to Bath, Me. That is how I got to be a part of the Hugh W. Hadley DD 774. From then on it was my home until the fatal day, 11 May 1945 when we became a part of Pacific war history.

I was picked up by an un-known ship and transferred to the Solace and eventually to Titian Island Tent-city hospital. From there it was onto the receiving hospital, San Francisco for further transfer to Cour D’Alene, Idaho naval hospital. In mid-August I was sent to Sun Valley, Idaho Naval Hospital to recuperate. I was discharged 5 Nov. 1945 from the Fargo Barracks, Boston to my home in Cranston, R.I.

I yearned to get back into the Navy and make it a career. Stella would not hear of it. So I went to Providence and enlisted in the reserve and became an instructor. I request a transfer to the active fleet and was assigned to the USS Bronson DD 868. April 1, 1950 we were sent to Iceland supposedly to quell some Russian activity that was suspected to happen to our air base there. After 10 days of no activity we headed to Plymouth, England for R & R then onto the Med. for a 6-months cruise. Unfortunately it was shortened in July when I was transferred to Chelsea Naval Hospital with a case of ulcers. After 4 weeks of treatment I was assigned to the USS Fiske DD 842 until Sept 1953 when I was discharged to civilian life again. Thus ended my naval career.

After trying several jobs (sales, power utility, and a couple of others I was not too keen about) I was hired by Continental Insurance as an engineer in the boiler & machinery division. It became my life (which I thoroughly enjoyed) from which I retired March 1, 1984. I was offered the opportunity to continue part-time which I readily accepted. I am still active working for Travelers Insurance with whom I went with in August 1966. That is how I wound in Florida.

At this writing I would like for you to meet our family. We have one son, Bob married 38 years to Chris who was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. Bob has a Masters degree in psychology from the University of Nebraska. They have 2 children; Nick (34) married and has 3 children. He is supervisor of detectives for Fairfax County, Va. Jennifer our grand daughter (33) has two children. She is employed in a Multi-media computer company, Marcom in Fairfax, VA and also is project manager for her father in Jennico Corp. It too is a multi-media company.