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  • Nicole Maffei

Remembering a War Hero - My Grandpa

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

First off, I want to wish all who served in the U.S. military Happy Veterans Day! Thank you for your service, your dedication, and for sacrificing so much to protect our country.

My grandpa, Nicholas Maffei Sr., served as a private first class (PFC) in the U.S. Army during World War II and was part of the 38th Infantry Division's 151st Infantry Regiment. He had gone through hell and back, seeing combat in the Battle of Zigzag Pass to help liberate Bataan in the Philippines and contracting malaria right before the battle (thanks to the corpsmen and medics of the 151st who saved his life). He was awarded the Bronze Star for his heroic work.

My dad and Uncle Michael believe these two photos were taken before he deployed to New Guinea and then the Philippines.

Army Private First Class Nicholas Maffei Sr. - photo was taken around 1942.

My Grandpa posing with a few soldiers from the Air Force - photo was taken around 1942.

From left to right: my grandmother (22 years old at the time), my grandfather (24 years old then), and his mother (my great-grandmother). All three were standing outside of my great-uncle's bar called "Nick's Bar & Grill" in Bronx, New York, when World War II ended in 1945.

Army PFC Nicholas Maffei Sr. at the driver's seat of the U.S. Army Jeep - photo taken in Bataan right before the end of the war.

My Grandpa also boxed in the Army! I guess that's where I get my boxing "genes" from :) He also took an interest in photography, then passed down his passion to my father, who then passed it down to me.

The Kodak Vigilant Junior Six-20 folding camera believed to be used to take all photographs above (Image credit: Doug Stinson). This camera was made in the U.S.A. and Canada by Kodak from 1940 to 1948, and took 6x9 cm images on 620 film.

This portrait of Army PFC Nicholas Maffei Sr. was taken by the Army. The camera used was most likely a large format studio camera. Here are two cameras that are similar (or maybe the one(s) used for the above portrait).

Horseman 4x5 Camera (Image credit: Gear Patrol)

Graflex Speed Graphic 4×5 Camera (Image credit: Gear Patrol)

From left to right: me (around 5 years old), my dad, my grandmother, my grandfather. This photo was taken in the mid-1990s.

The Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR Film Camera most likely used to take the above photo. Olympus was also my grandfather's favorite brand. My oh my, have cameras changed over time! (Image credit: Lomography)

Grandma and Grandpa, I love and miss you both every day.

A special thanks to my dad and my uncle Michael for passing down the stories of my grandparents and for providing the photos.

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