CBI Theater, Eugene V. Rizzi

While my father, Smitty , was training in North Carolina, fellow blogger Allen Rizzi’s  father, Eugene Valentine Rizzi, entered the U.S. Army on December 21, 1942.  

On route to China via India on an aircraft carrier, his company was strafed by Japanese aircraft. resulting in huge causalities. After making it over “the Hump,” Eugene was posted with the 396th Signal Company (AVN) under Captain Willard Simpkins as a high speed manual radio operator (Morse Code) in support of the Flying Tigers.

Gene Rizzi, U.S Army, 1945

Before entering the army, Eugene Rizzi was a concert master (violinist) with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Vienna) an actor and radio announcer with Fox, Warner Brothers and RKO (Hollywood). As a musician he was noted to have had perfect pitch and therefore found radio operation using Morse Code fairly easy. In this capacity, he learned Chinese and also served as an enemy code breaker.

Rizzi eventually became station master of the Fourteenth Air force Headquarters in China overseeing 60 radio operators. He was discharged December 7, 1945 at Fort McArthur, California as a Staff Sergeant. 

Gen. Claire Chennault always knew where his men were and what they were up to, according to his superiors.  Chennault was not one to kid around, but if you did your job, you would have no trouble from him.

The attached letter is a “true copy” of a letter sent by Major General Claire Lee Chennault to Captain Willard Simpkins congratulating him and his men for a job well done. “True Copies” were distributed to key personnel in the unit as a “thanks from the top.”

For further information on “The Hump”, please click HERE>

396th Signal Co. (Avn) – Kunmin, Kweilin, Kanchow, Luliang, Hengyang, Luichow, Tushan. 

For U.S. Army lineage page, click here>
https://history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/lineages/branches/sc/0396scco.htm

The 14th Air Force as of 30 December 2019 became designated as the Space Operations Command.

Mr. Rizzi is the father of fellow blogger, Allen Rizzi, located here>

https://rizziallen.wordpress.com/

##############################################################################################################################################################################

Military Humor –

#######################################################################################

Farewell Salutes –

John Butterly – Tampa, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co./187/11th Airborne Division

image courtesy of Dan Antion

Harold Clark – Junction City, OH; US Army, WWII, ETO, Tank gunner, 740th Tank Battalion

Leslie P. Delles – St. Charles, IL; US Navy, WWII, Electrician’s Mate, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Robert Ford – Bibb County, GA; USMC, WWII, PTO / Civilian, Robin AFB, Dir. of Engineering

Jack E, Hill – CO; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc., Co. D/1/6/2nd Marine Division, KIA (Betio, Tarawa)

James A. Requenez – San Antonio, TX; Spec., 6th Ranger Training Battery

George Segal – NYC, NY; US Army / beloved actor

Alfred ‘Fred’ Turgeon – Cordova, AK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, KIA (Romania)

Nicholas J. Valentine – Grant County, WI; US Army, Korea, Sgt., Battery B/57 Field Artillery/ 7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Willie Williams Jr. – Bath, SC; US Army, SSgt., 11th Airborne Division

#########################################################################################################################################################

About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on March 29, 2021, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 170 Comments.

  1. Leaning Chinese is great to help de Nevy but its not easy.
    Hi GP I try something out .I sent you a memorial card with music of Jacguilawson.
    Happy Memorial day
    Hope you can open it.
    greetings
    Marylou
    https://www.jacquielawson.com/ecard/pickup/r84d51b776ded4f769f2bacd6c8e9f2b4?source=jl999&utm_medium=pickup&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=receivercontent

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the flag-folding gif… Now if we can just get people to take down or light their flags at night and dispose of them properly when they get weather-worn…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s wonderful of you, GP, to dedicate a post to Eugene Rizzi’s father – what a change of career because of the war! Obviously – and tragically! – having missed several years of practicing, he could not be a professional violinist any more. What a shame!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks I could read this special letter

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Fabulous post GP and such great comments you have a fantastic community. We think a year of lockdown is bad and the current loss of life is heartbreaking but putting it in perspective like this, to put your life on hold for many years of war, drafted to fight with the potential loss of life, yes people do need to remember what was fought for.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is amazing! Thank you for keeping memories alive. What a spectacular letter!
    Hope you are well…Happy Easter πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Always something new and original. I liked reading that very yellow 1945 letter! Great accounting! 🌼

    Liked by 2 people

  8. 🐰 🌷 πŸ₯š πŸ’› ✝️ 🐣 πŸ’œ πŸ‡ πŸ’ Happy Easter!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Allen’s father sounds like a very talented and bright individual, GP! Thank you both for telling his story.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I just visited Allen Rizzi’s blog, and did a bit of browsing. Coincidence strikes again. His earliest memory comes from the time he was a child in Des Moines, Iowa, while my first memory marks an experience just thirty miles or so down the road, in Newton, Iowa. It one more confirmation of my theory that if we talk to anyone long enough, we’ll eventually find the point of connection.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Great read my friend thanks for sharing it. J.C.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for your like of my post, ” Road To Tribulation 14;” I appreciate your kindness.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thank you for sharing this story with us

    Liked by 2 people

  14. What a great story! Never underestimate the power of music.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. A farewell salute to my father, Arthur R. D’Agostino, 97. Passed away March 17, 2021. Served 8th Armored Division March 1943 – September – 1944. T-Sgt. Survived by his son, Carl, two grandchildren and 4 great children. An honest, upright, kind and generous man to all and the best father a son could ever hope for.

    Liked by 5 people

  16. What a remarkable and fascinating biography — not to mention a terrific name. Thanks for sharing, GP. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Thanks for your like of my post, “Salvation In Christ . The Book Of John 1:29. 26 A.D.;” you are very kind.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. What a great post, GP. Adding the letter was a special touch. Thank you!

    Liked by 4 people

  19. That is a really interesting account, thank you. It was really nice to see a letter of thanks from Major General Chennault. The way things are organised in our society even nowadays, the people at the top usually have very little time for the people who actually get the job done, so it was nice to see at least one VIP who hasn’t forgotten his manners!

    Liked by 5 people

  20. I wonder, when did such letters of β€œthanks from the top” lost their value?

    Lovely nod to fellow blogger Allen Rizzi and to Dan Antion too.

    Liked by 5 people

  21. Do very very interesting! What a man!

    Liked by 4 people

  22. Just curious if Rizzi entered the Army on his own or if he was drafted. Seems quite a career to set aside willingly to serve in the Army but perhaps he had a sense of dedication to his country. Something we don’t see a whole lot of today.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Isn’t that the truth, Bev. We still see that some people have that dedication, but as a whole I am not seeing much I can say for in the upcoming youth.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Actually, my father was drafted as were almost all of Hollywood’s young male actors of the time. I have often thought that he wound up in China as a result of the Army not wanting to post him too close to his homeland of Austria. Yet his brother help liberate Mauthausen, so who lknows?

      Liked by 3 people

  23. Peggy’s dad would be pleased to seeing you mention the Hump pilots, G. –Curt

    Liked by 4 people

  24. Thanks for sharing the story of Mr. Rizzi. He certainly had an interesting background and was able to put those skills to use in the Signal Corps. My uncle was also in the Signal Corps in WWII. Interesting that there is a branch of the Army dedicated to communications.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. I read memoirs, and I fail to comprehend the courage and depravity. It affected everyone around the globe. The stories shock and instill admiration simutaneously.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The more I learn about that generation and era in time – the more totally astounded and amazed I become, Cindy.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Cindy, I now live in Italy and the lives of everyone are still affected on a daily basis by the two world wars. The angst is palpable and the family stories of lost families, houses, etc. is truly moving.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I believe the globe had PTSD after WW2. There’s never been anything more horrific. It saddens me that many still feel its effects. While simutaneously bringing out the heroism and goodness in man. What a contriction. The worst and best of humanity. Thank you for visiting today.

        Liked by 3 people

  26. Saw the Rizzi name and wondered if he was Allen’s father. Amazing.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Thank you for mentioning another hero, GP! Migrating from a concert violonist to the signal company is also a little bit funny. There was someone in HR who knew that nimble fingers are not only important when shooting. πŸ˜‰ Thank you, and have a beautiful week, GP!

    Liked by 4 people

  28. Thank you G.P. for posting this wonderful tribute. My father was very proud of his small military contributions in China. He made many long lasting friends there and came home with a changed life and many a story. The one that stuck with me the most (as I have related before) is that of a Chinese guard who fell asleep while he was supposed to be guarding the planes. His Chinese superior office executed him on the spot for dereliction of duty. That made quite an impression on everyone!

    My father taught me and my brother Morse Code when we were very young. I still know Morse but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep up with a snail. As for pitch, I went on to be a songwriter and music producer but I am classified as “relative perfect pitch” which is in no way in the same class as my father.

    By the wat, my father briefly appears in Frank Capra’s 1944 film, The Battle of China which was one of six propaganda films produced by Capra.

    My father’s musical biography is paired with the history of the music school he attended in Vienna in my book: https://www.amazon.com/New-Vienna-Conservatory-America-English-ebook/dp/B087PPLLHB/

    Liked by 5 people

  29. Excellent post, GP. Thanks.

    Liked by 5 people

  30. Thank you for sharing Mr. Eugene Rizzi with us! What a wonderful man who used his gifts/talents to do important and good things!
    The letter is spectacular and got me a bit teary-eyed.
    The Wile E. Coyote cartoon made me snort-laugh! πŸ˜€
    The photo in the Farewell Salutes is beautiful and got me teary-eyed, too. πŸ™‚
    (((HUGS))) and hope you are well today, GP!!! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 5 people

  31. Great story about Mr Rizzi. I note he was discharged on the same date that the war started. πŸ™‚
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 5 people

  32. From concert violinist to codebreaker–are there two such disparate professions? I wouldn’t have thought of the ‘perfect pitch’ as helping there but it makes sense.

    Liked by 5 people

  33. Great story. What a generation!

    Liked by 4 people

  34. What did he do after the war? Did he continue his music and radio career?

    Liked by 4 people

  35. Great post. I like Allen’s blog. The pilot cartoon reminds me that there are old pilots and bold pilots but no old, bold pilots. A successful pilot is one whose take-off and landings are equal (this is particularly true on an aircraft carrier.)

    Liked by 4 people

  36. This information about Allen Rizzi’s dad is absolutely fascinating!

    “Before entering the army, Eugene Rizzi was a concert master (violinist) with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Vienna) an actor and radio announcer with Fox, Warner Brothers and RKO (Hollywood). As a musician he was noted to have had perfect pitch and therefore found radio operation using Morse Code fairly easy. In this capacity, he learned Chinese and also served as an enemy code breaker.”

    When I read the first sentence, I thought, how incongruous to go from a concert master to the Army–but perfect pitch was a connection!!

    Liked by 6 people

  37. I love the stories about people, in this case, people making a difference. The part where the general says (in the letter) “your job, while not glamorous, has been most competently and thoroughly done…” says a lot about this man.

    I love the Wily Coyote cartoon πŸ˜€ and the cartoon about takeoffs and landings. Thanks for the mention on the flag. You put it in a place of honor.

    Liked by 5 people

  38. Eugene Rizzi’s story is fascinating, and Gen. Chennault’s letter exemplary

    Liked by 3 people

  39. My favorite book of Allen Rizzi’s is “Horse Whisperers from Anaconda.” This is a corner of history that was new to me–a family moving from Missouri to the wilds of Montana to oversee a timber operation, but the sons learning training horses from Blackfoot Indians, which turned into jobs. They also trained horses for the army during WWI. They were hunters and mountainmen. Leather items they made still survive among descendants. There’s even more fascinating history in this story!

    Liked by 5 people

  40. Appreciated, Allen. Wish I had more info to include.

    Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: CBI Theater, Eugene V. Rizzi – Education

  2. Pingback: CBI Theater, Eugene V. Rizzi – ZUM GLOBAL NETWORK

  3. Pingback: CBI Theater, Eugene V. Rizzi β€” Pacific Paratrooper | Ups Downs Family History

  4. Pingback: CBI Theater, Eugene V. Rizzi β€” Pacific Paratrooper | allenrizzi

  5. Pingback: CBI Theater, Eugene V. Rizzi - The Washington County Auditor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: