Grossi, Dominick J.

    Date of birth:
    September 9th, 1920
    Date of death:
    March 8th, 1945 (Iwo Jima, Pacific)
    Nationality:
    American (1776 - present, Republic)

    Biography

    Dom Grossi lived with his family in "West End" of Lockport, NY. He attended St. Anthony's RC church, Charlotte Cross School and graduated from Lockport Senior High School in 1938. He played football for four years and basketball for two. It was in football as a brilliant end that enhanced his reputation and in his senior year was co-captain of the LHS team. As a post-graduate he was the mainstay on the team that finally beat the Falls 3 and 0 and broke a long chain of defeats.
    Dom entered the University of Buffalo and joined the football "Bulls." He starred as an end, won many awards, and for three years was named to the "All Western NY" college grid squad. He was co-captain and team captain in his senior year and was a versatile performer on offense and defense. His sharp tackling made him a strong defensive player. An excellent pass receiver, he was a consistent ground gainer on the end around manoeuver and his kick for extra points was the margin on several close victories.
    Dom enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps in 1943 interrupting his educational career at the University of Buffalo. He continued his education at the University of Rochester as a trainee for the Marine-Navy V-12 programs. He was a member of the University of Rochester "Riverman" football squad and named by the Associated Press to the Upstate football team and the All-State eleven. While at the University of Rochester he received an offer from the New York Giants professional football team.
    On November 1, 1943, Dom Grossi and the other Marine members of the University of Rochester football team left for Parris Island and basic training. With the completion of training at the University of Rochester, Dom was then assigned to Parris Island for basic training, to Quantico VA Officers Candidate School where he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in April 1944 and graduated from the Quartermaster Administration School in October 1944.
    Dom left for overseas assignment in November 1944 and participated in the invasion of Iwo Jima and received the PURPLE HEART for wounds received on February 24, 1945. After treatment for his wounds he returned to the front lines and was killed in action on March 8, 1945.
    For his heroism on February 24 1945 the NAVY CROSS was posthumously awarded. Rev. Michael Campbell, Pastor, and the sermon by Reverend John Tye, OSFS principle of DeSales Catholic High School for boys and a former army chaplain who served in the Pacific Theater, celebrated a mass in November 1946, in St. Anthony’s church. His parents, Mr. & Mrs. Pasquale Grossi, were presented with his NAVY CROSS at this church ceremony. Major Diehl of the Buffalo Marine Corps Recruiting Station read the Presidential Citation. (see Navy Cross)
    The Council of the University of Buffalo on April 10 1945, directed that the name of Dominick J. Grossi be inscribed on the Honor Roll of members who gave their life for their country while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. The UB Alumni Association posthumously induced Dom Grossi into the Athletic Hall of Fame in December 1984 -his portrait and a plaque, are on display in the trophy case in the Alumni Building on the UB Amherst campus.
    The UB Beta Chi Epsilon fraternity established the "Dominick J. Grossi Memorial Trophy" in 1952 to the memory of one of the most popular students and an athlete who gave his life in World War Two. A committee of eight representing the press, coaches, the university and athletes decide each year's recipient. The bases of the award are:
    1. The athlete who has done the, most to promote the name of the University
    2. The athlete who has demonstrated consistently a high level of sportsmanlike conduct.
    3. The athlete whose abilities and achievements on the field are outstanding.
    The "Dom Grossi Trophy" was presented to the outstanding student athlete at UB from 1946 until the University of Buffalo disbanded the football program in 1971.
    In 1978 the University of Buffalo re-established its football program. Re-activation of the Dom Grossi award occurred in 1983 through the efforts of football coach Bill Dando and Elmer Granchelli. Elmer, a Lockport developer and friend of the Grossi family, has donated the Dom Grossi award retroactive to 1978 and will continue to donate the award perpetually.
    Today, presentation of the award is to UB's outstanding football player for athletic prowess, academic excellence and sportsmanship.
    In 1950 the "Eighth Ward Playground" was re-dedicated as the "Grossi Memorial Playground." Also dedicated was a bronze plaque installed in a large stone, bearing the names of nine Lockport marines who died in World War 11, and a memorial flagpole. Attending the ceremony were civic officials, Lockport Service Veterans, relatives, friends, other Marine heroes.
    Dominick was the son of Patsy and Lena Grossi. Members of the Grossi family still living in Lockport are two sisters, Mrs. Robert (Betty) Junke, Mrs. Peter (Patrina) Mussel, a brother-in-law Mr. James (Mary) Dellaccio and many nieces and nephews. A brother Patsy lives in Phoenixville PA.

    Lieutenant Dominick J. Grossi will always be 24 years old.

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Second Lieutenant
    Unit:
    K-Company / 3rd. Battallion / 21st Marines-Regiment / 3rd Marine Division
    Awarded on:
    May 10th, 1945
    Action:
    For military merit and for wounds received in action February 24th 1945 and March 8th 1945 which resulted in his death.
    Details:
    Posthumously awarded.
    Purple Heart
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Second Lieutenant
    Unit:
    K-Company / 3rd. Battallion / 21st Marines-Regiment / 3rd Marine Division
    Awarded on:
    August 15th, 1946
    Navy Cross
    Action:
    The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the NAVY CROSS to SECOND LIEUTENANT DOMINICK J. GROSSI UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE for service as set forth in the following
    CITATION:

    "For extraordinary heroism as leader of an assault platoon attached to Company K, Third Battalion, Twenty First Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, on Feb. 24th, 1945. Penetrating one of the most heavily fortified Japanese positions on Iwo Jima in an attempt to cut across Motoyama Airfield No. Two and capture the commanding ridge, Second Lieutenant Grossi and his men manoeuvered the approach to the airstrip with adroit tactical skill and, disregarding the pounding barrage of mortars and field pieces, the merciless cross-fire of machine guns and rifles and the shattering concussions of grenades hurtling through the air and exploding close by, surged across the heavily mined sands dotted with buried pillboxes. Determined to gain his objective and refusing to yield to the overwhelming volume of hostile fire, Second Lieutenant Grossi led his unit against the Japanese with dauntless courage, slashing right and left with his bayonet, thrusting grenades into massive emplacements sunk in the sands, dropping them behind rocks, sweeping aside the enemy, holding desperately and fighting furiously in hand-to-hand engagements as he smashed through a sector swarming with Japanese to gain the fifty-foot ridge on the opposite side of the airstrip after approximately 90 minutes of savage conflict. When a strong enemy force counter-attack forced him to yield the newly won position, he promptly and effectively reorganized the 12 men remaining in his unit, led the stouthearted group in a fierce bayonet and grenade charge and reoccupied the vital hill. By his aggressive initiative, bold tactics and indomitable spirit during a critical phase of the assault, Second Lieutenant Grossi aided materially in the subsequent capture of the entire airfield and contributed essentially to the success of his company's operations against this fanatically defended outpost of the Japanese Empire. His inspiring leadership and great personal valor in the face of tremendous opposition reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service."
    Details:
    Postumously awarded.

    Sources

    • Photo: Bob Junke
    • - Recipients of The Navy Cross, 1916 - Present, by C. Douglas Sterner
      - Official Citations: Bob Junke

    Photo