Eugene “Geno” Ballatti is 92 years young and still participates in Honor Guard duties for the American Legion Post 125 in Princeton, Ill. He is our U.S. flag carrier.
Geno was born in Mark, Ill., a small mining town in north central Illinois.
Geno enlisted in the Navy in September 1942 and served as a signalman on two different aircraft carriers. He was first assigned to the USS Bogue from January 1943 thru July 1944. The USS Bogue was used to patrol the Atlantic looking primarily for submarines, of which they sank 12. Eleven were German and one was Japanese.
Geno was then assigned the the USS Randolph, CV15, which was sent to the Pacific. Again, Geno was a signalman. This ship was commissioned in 1944 and sent in January 1945 to the Pacific theater of operations. This ship was part of Task Force 58.
During a stop at the Ulithi atoll, the USS Randolph was attacked and hit by a Kamikaze plane which killed 30 sailors and injured more than 100.
Geno survived the war and processed out in October 1945. He now lives in Princeton, Ill.
He has many stories of his wartime experiences, and will share them with anyone that likes to hear them.
Geno has been a member of the American Legion since 1982, and a member of the VFW since 1950.
Brad Oeder, American Legion Member