Aldo Giannini was born in Cicero, Illinois in November, 1923 and raised in Chicago, where his Italian immigrant parents owned a neighborhood restaurant and bar. When the attack on Pearl Harbor took place Aldo was a high school senior about to graduate. A year later he joined the Marine Corps and was sent to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego for boot training. Assigned to Second Division, Eighth Marines, he was sent to New Zealand in June, 1943 for further training.
On November 20, 1943 he was in the first wave to land at Tarawa, one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. In 76 hours the Marines suffered 1,009 killed and 2,101 wounded. The USS Liscome Bay was sunk losing 687 sailors. 4,690 Japanese soldiers were killed.
Sergeant Aldo Giannini was awarded his first Purple Heart for wounds sustained on Tarawa. He received his second Purple Heart during the assault landing at Saipan. In all he made five assault landings on Tarawa, Saipan, Tinnian, Iheya-shima, and Okinawa. He was part of the occupation force stationed near Nagasaki until the end of 1945.
His combat decorations include two Purple Hearts, two Presidential Unit Citations, 4 Battle Stars, and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
After his discharge from the Marine Corps on January 15, 1946, he married his high school sweetheart, Evelyn Smith, and raised two sons. He and Evelyn will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary in March, 2014.