Alberico F. Lamasa, who participated in the D-Day landing in France on June 6, 1944, and later owned several Baltimore bars, died Thursday at Manor Care Towson of complications from pneumonia. He was 93.
The son of Sicilian immigrants Matteo Lamasa, a bar owner, and Giuseppa Lamasa, a homemaker, Alberico Francis Lamasa was born in Baltimore and raised on Colvin Street, where the main post office now stands.
Mr. Lamasa was a 1939 graduate of City College. He was inducted into the Army's 526th Quartermaster Railhead Depot Company in Baltimore, where he was trained to be an amphibious truck driver. He later was assigned to the 458th Amphibious Truck Company in Europe.
Mr. Lamasa arrived in Britain and trained for what eventually became the D-Day invasion.
"He was on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and for several weeks thereafter, and never forgot the experience," said a niece, Cheryl Lamasa of Cockeysville.
"Over the years, he told many stories about D-Day. While crossing the English Channel, their boat began taking on water and they were told to abandon ship," said Ms. Lamasa.
"So they had to transfer to another boat in the middle of the night, and Alberico dropped one of the big machine guns into the channel while switching boats," she said. "He described the experience as being like something out of the old 'F Troop' TV show."
Mr. Lamasa was a landing craft driver of a 21/2-ton DUKW amphibious vehicle that delivered cargo from invasion ships directly to Omaha Beach.
"He recalled the sound of the battleships shooting their guns promptly at 6 a.m. on June 6, 1944, and the complete chaos," said Ms. Lamasa. "He remembered that the big battleship guns didn't even dent the heavily fortified German lookouts."
Mr. Lamasa, who survived the landing unscathed, spent the rest of the day shuttling much-needed supplies from ship to shore.
"He spoke of the dead people and body parts that were floating all over the place. He said he had to push through them to reach the shore," the niece said.
"He recalled the grave people coming in with bulldozers and digging holes and pushing all of the bodies into them," said Ms. Lamasa. "He said he could never forget what he saw there, but wished that he could forget it."
While on wartime leave in France, he traveled to Switzerland to visit several of his mother's relatives, including a small boy, Giovanni Vallotton, a cousin.
In the 1980s, Mr. Lamasa had a visitor to the Briarcliff Apartments in Cockeysville, where he had lived for years until his death.
"Giovanni Vallotton came to Alberico's apartment in Cockeysville. He showed his family a picture of Alberico holding a little boy's hand in Switzerland," said Ms. Lamasa.
"The little boy was Giovanni, who was now an Evangelical minister. He recalled meeting Alberico and the chocolate bar he gave him," she said. "Giovanni called him each year on D-Day to remember his contribution on that day."
Mr. Lamasa was discharged in 1945 at Fort Meade. His decorations included the Croix de Guerre with Palm, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with a Bronze Arrowhead, and the World War II Victory Ribbon.
He returned to Baltimore, where he owned and operated several bars until retiring in the early 1970s.
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