103rd Cactus Division

 Leo I. MaLossi
411th Regiment

receiving his 65 year overdue Bronze Star, and
a picture of the rehabilitation ring he made in the Army learning to use his right hand.

     My Father, Leo MaLossi was born January 29 1923 in Pittsfield Massachusetts. Soon after
birth his family moved to Albany New York, where he grew up. Like many born during the
1920s he was profoundly affected by growing up during the Depression years. A studious
young man, he realized early on that getting a good education was the key to improving his
future. He was an engineering student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute when World War II
broke out. At R.P.I. he excelled at scholastics and boxing (winning a University gold medal).
The story goes that he was so good at boxing, that other students hesitated to join the team,
not wanting to fight him. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on December 14, 1942, a week after
Pearl Harbor. He continued his studies until he was called into service May 26, 1943 at
Camp Upton, NY.
     Assigned to the 103 Division, 411th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company G as an infantry
rifleman, he departed for the European Theatre of Operations October 6, 1944. He landed
in Marseille, France with the 103d. Speaking both French and Italian, he was often called
upon to translate with locals for other GIs. He also was favored as a company boxer. He
became very close friends with BARman Allen Thurman Jr. whom he described a really big
Iowa boy. While some found him a bit surly, my Father enjoyed a great friendship with him. 
They fought together through France, on the drive though the Vosages Mountains, and were
together on the climb to Climbach. On December 19th while assaulting German positions on
the high ground outer defenses of the Siegfried Line together, Allen was killed in action.
Minutes later my Father suffered a disabling gunshot wound to his left arm, putting him out
of action. Tucking his  mangled arm into his battle jacket, he was able to make it to a German
bunker occupied by fellow GIs where he was tended to by a company medic and evacuated
to an aid station. He mourned the loss of his friend Allen even to his old age.
     Upon returning to the USA, he went through rehabilitation to learn how to use his right
arm as he was a lefty before the war. Given a choice of rehab projects, he chose to make a
ring out of a 50 cent piece which he gave to his brother Aldo. It exhibits the perfect form of
an engineer’s talent. Just before his death, my Uncle Aldo passed the ring on to me. It is now
one of my most cherished possessions.
     Returning to civilian life, my Father finished his Engineering degree at RPI. He was
married to my Mother, Dolores Lockett of Montreal in 1951 and attended and graduated from
George Washington law school. He became a successful Patent Attorney, winning a landmark
Supreme Court case in June 1980 granting the “right to patent life”, which became the legal
foundation of bioengineering.
     While his disabled arm kept him from engaging in many of life’s activities like golf or
playing a musical instrument, he enjoyed a talent for singing. He was a wonderful vocalist
performing with a well known local big band. His other love was of his family. Married for
58 years, his wife and children have always been his greatest joy.
     While suffering a hospitalized illness in January 2009, I began looking into his military
service. Discovering that he never received his due Bronze Star, I contacted the US Army
and in May of 2009 he was finally awarded his Bronze Star in a ceremony by our NY State
Senator Hugh Farley. In September 2009 he suffered a stroke and now resides in a nursing
home in Albany. His care, paid for up front in blood 65 years ago, is being given by the
Veteran’s Administration. My Father never discussed his WWII experiences with his family.
I will forever be disappointed that I did not press him sooner for his WWII experiences,
perhaps returning with him to the Siegfried Line and visiting his friend Allen Thurman’s
grave at Neupre Cemetery. When he passes, he will be buried with Military Honors at
Saratoga National Cemetery. I am indeed fortunate that I don’t have to look any further than
my Father for my hero in life
EAME  Good