U.S.S. SLC...USN...Alex J. Cichelli, CMM, USN
Alex J. Cichelli passed away on April 10th, 2017 at the age of 96. Information from
his son Dennis.
Source: Matt Leader, Jan. 18th, 2017
U.S. Navy veteran and longtime Livingston County resident Alexander Cichelli was recognized last month for
his 70 years of continuous membership in the American Legion. Currently a member of Carlton R. Boies Post 1007 in Leicester, Cichelli was previously a member of the now defunct Post 955 in Retsof.
Cichelli, 95, enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a 21-year-old in 1942 and was one of the first enlistees to be
processed through the Samson Naval Training Center in Geneva. He completed his final training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Chicago before being stationed on the USS Salt Lake City. Eventually rising to the rank of chief petty officer, Cichelli saw significant action aboard the Salt Lake City in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
He was aboard the ship during the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign of late 1943 and early 1944 which
saw the Salt Lake City participate in battles at the Funafuti and Tarawa Atolls in the South Pacific.
In late 1944, the Salt Lake City participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf which decimated Japanís naval
strength and is widely recognized as the largest naval battle of the war. But perhaps the most memorable experience of Cichelliís military service came while the Salt Lake City was providing naval support during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Itís a story that Cichelliís son, Dennis, heard often from his father over the years. Cichelli was in charge of the USS Salt Lake Cityís machine
shop during normal operations but in times of battle, he was stationed to fire control on the shipís main deck, said his son, Dennis.
After the initial bombardment of Iwo Jima had concluded, the Salt Lake City and other ships of the fleet patrolled the island while Marines fought to retake it from the Japanese. It was from that vantage point on the main deck and using binoculars that Cichelli
and other shipmates were able to see six Marines raise the American flag atop Mount Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945.
The image of that flag-raising would go on to become iconic and served as the inspiration of the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.
Cichelli was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1946. After the war, he went back to work at the
International Salt Company in Retsof and married his high school sweetheart, Carmel DiCarlo.
They had two sons and were married for 54 years.
Cichelli was the plant manager of the International Salt Company for the final 10 years of his career. He
retired in 1986.
After Carmelís death in 2000, Cichelli moved to Leicester with his son, David.
In Memory of Alex J. Cichelli
1920 - 2017
Obituary of Alex Cichelli
Alex J. Cichell, age 96, of Retsof, died Monday April 10, 2017 at the Highlands at Brighton. He was predeceased by his loving wife of 54 years, Carmel Cichelli, sisters, Rita, Nellie, Dolly and his brother, Louis.
He is survived by his sons, Dennis (Deborah) Cichelli of Rochester, David Cichelli of Leicester, grandson,
Michael Cichelli of Rochester, sisters, Nina (Joseph) La George of Mt. Morris, Lucy Lo Verde of Mt.
Morris, brothers, Leo (Josephine) Cichelli Sr. of Cuylerville, John (Anne) Cichelli of Retsof, many nieces
Alex was born October 25, 1920 in Retsof, NY the son of Augustine and Philomena DeFebo Cichelli. He was a
US Navy Veteran of WWII who served aboard the U.S.S. Salt Lake City in the Pacific. Alex retired after
many years as the Plant Manager from the International Salt Company. He was a member of the American
Legion and VFW Post 643 both in York for over 70 years. Alex was a lifelong member of St. Lucy's Church in
SLC Deck Log Dec. 1943
#15 in "A" Division, 1944
#13 in A Division, 1945
1973 SLC Reunion