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World War II veteran Dominick Critelli honored – Long Island Weekly

Hempstead Town Councilman Don Clavin, Assistant Town Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilmembers Dennis Dunne, Tom Muscarella and Melissa Miller presented Floral Park resident Dominick Critelli, a World War II veteran, with the Town of Hempstead Champion of Freedom Award during the Town of Hempstead’s Salute to Veterans event at Point Lookout Town Park on June 29.

Critelli, who is 103, also played the national anthem for the audience on his soprano saxophone. In his spare time, he continues to play the saxophone in a band he founded more than half a century ago.

Dominick Critelli of Floral Park is honored at the annual Veterans Salute. (Town of Hempstead)

Critelli, the final award winner of the evening, was not on the program because the city intended it to be a surprise for everyone present, including Critelli himself.

Earlier this month, countries around the world commemorated the 80th anniversary of D-Day, a major Allied offensive that is widely considered the turning point of World War II. Today, few World War II veterans are still alive – and even fewer who took part in the D-Day operation.

In 1944, Critelli served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, a member of the 95th Infantry Division’s Artillery Aviation Unit, 378th Infantry Regiment. Critelli was assigned to aerial reconnaissance, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions – giving soldiers in the field an idea of ​​what they were dealing with. His missions often took him behind enemy lines, where he came under fire from anti-aircraft artillery.

The 95th Infantry Division was known for its so-called “hidden ball tricks” in which, based largely on Critelli’s intelligence,

Allied forces were able to trick well-fortified Nazi units into falling for the bait by using false radio communications and misleading battle plans, allowing the Allies to win battles that would otherwise have been classified as “suicide missions.”

As part of the D-Day invasion, Critelli transported supplies for battle-weary soldiers in the days following the landings, enabling the Allies to hold hard-fought areas. He also served in the Battle of the Bulge under the command of General George Patton, with his flight unit flying
by heavy artillery to provide reinforcements to trapped troops.

Because of his heroic service, Critelli and other World War II veterans were invited to the 80th anniversary celebrations in Normandy, France, earlier this month, where he received the country’s highest military honor – being named a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor.

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