Joliet native, Army veteran take Honor Flight
May 2, 2012 6:06PM
Victor "Coke" Biasetti of Joliet visits the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. | submitted photo
Updated: June 4, 2012 8:02AM
Victor “Coke” Biasetti of Joliet, a U.S. Army World War II veteran, was aboard the Chicago Honor Flight on April 4.
“It was truly a flight to remember. The many people who greeted us at Midway Airport for our trip to Washington, D.C., was unbelievable and the even many more people there to greet us in our return. There were the bagpipers, ROTC, sailors. There was also a guy all the way from Seattle, Wash. There to great us with a box of Girl Scout cookies, and a letter thanking us for serving. It was a great feeling you’ll never forget,” he said.
Biasetti served from Dec. 18, 1942, to March 27, 1946.
He served aboard the Higgins, a landing craft, for his training and later was shipped to Scotland, where he was assigned to the 33rd Harbor Craft (a tugboat), where he served as shipmaster. His mission was to go to other ships, passing along orders to the captains.
“These orders would let each captain know where they had to go and what they were going to be doing,” Biassetti said.
Biasetti’s daily routine included raising wrecked ships with a barge. He recalled an incident, when one wreck was raised, it included a bomb that penetrated the barge, but did not blow up.
“Before the ships could be moved, Navy divers would have to patch holes in the ships using mattresses so that we could be move them,” he said.
Once Biasetti returned to the Joliet, he began a career as a cement finisher. He did this for 50 years before retiring. He then went to Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center, where he has been volunteering for the past 25 years.
Biasetti keeps busy in other ways. He calls the numbers at Stone City VFW Post on Wednesday nights; bowls on Friday nights and is the cashier for mostaccioli dinners held on first Tuesday of the month.
Born on the South Side of Joliet, his father owned a bakery across from Englemann Gas Station, where he worked as a teen, performing customer service to vehicles, pumping their gas, checking the fluids and cleaning windshields. Customers would reward him with a Coke, which is where he got his nickname.
Biasetti was married to the late Rosella and they have a son, Victor Biasetti Jr., and daughter, Julie, with seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Other military news
The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Squad will conduct military vonors for four homeless veterans at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. They are U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran Edward Lee Sevastos; Mark Paulsey, U.S. Air Force, peacetime; Gregory J. Pekala, U.S. Army, peacetime; and Morris Schinholster, U.S. Marines, Korea. Pallbearers and burial flag accepts are needed.
The 34th Annual William A. Athans 18th District VFW Post’s Loyalty Day Parade will start at 2 p.m. Sunday at the corner of Fourth Street and Cedar Road in New Lenox. The parade then heads north to Haven Avenue and then north on Veterans Parkway. The parade commemorates Americans love for flag and country and is held on the first Sunday of May each year. It is sponsored by VFW posts in the 18th District.
Governors State University will host its semiannual, award-winning Veterans Entrepreneurial Boot Camp from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, with registration beginning at 7:45 a.m. The camp is offered at no cost to veterans. Families and business partners of those serving in the military may attend for $25. Major funding for the event is provided by a grant from The Coleman Foundation of Chicago and co-sponsored by Phoenix Business Solutions, CenterPoint 504 non-for-profit and the Illinois Small Business Development and International Trade Centers at Governors State University. For information or to register, call CenterPoint at Governors State University at 708-534-4929 or visit www.centerpointgsu.com.
Jean Edwards is looking forward to writing area veterans columns, sharing their military experiences. She can be reached at 815-773-7172 or firstname.lastname@example.org