Fitchburg State Celebrates Throwing of WWII Letters by Fallen Sailor – Sentinel and Enterprise

FITCHBURG — The life and death of a decorated World War II sailor from Fitchburg is being brought to light through a new online collection and exhibit opening June 1 at the Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library in Fitchburg State University.

The Michael Vincent Addorisio (Addorizzi) family collection, curated by the late sailor’s niece, Rose Anne Addorisio, is housed in the library’s archives through collaboration with the university’s Center for Italian Culture. Addorisio is a member of the CIC Board of Directors.

The collection includes 93 letters, postcards and medals, depicting a military life that was tragically cut short while serving on the USS Reid during World War II. His letters describe his travels across the United States by train to his first duty station and his journey around the world by sea. Routines of a sailor’s life and a first-hand account of Pearl Harbor are included. His medals, letters, and that fateful Western Union Telegram bring Addorisio’s story to life.

The online collection can be viewed at

The collection will launch at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1, in the University Library Archives and Special Collections, Room S03, Hammond Hall, 160 Pearl St. Admission is free and open to the public. Archivist Asher Jackson and Rose Anne Addorisio will discuss the collection and its unique content. A face covering will be required for this event and visitors must certify that they have no symptoms of COVID-19.

Michael Vincent Addorisio (Addorizzi), son of immigrant parents Pasquale and Rosina (Maria Rosa Loreto) Addoriso, was born on January 23, 1919 in Fitchburg. He was the sixth of eight children, four born in Rocchetta, Sant’Antonio Italy, and four born in Fitchburg. According to his birth and military records, his official name was Michael Vincent Addorizzi.

On October 7, 1940, he enlisted in the United States Navy in Springfield, Mass., under the official name of Michael Vincent Addorizzi. He wrote to his family saying “don’t laugh at my new name” and “remember the 2zz’s”.

This collection includes 93 letters from when he enlisted in 1940 until 1944, when he was killed in an attack at sea south of the Philippines.