Family of late Chesterfield soldier receives his WWII medals

Aug 16, 2013

U.S. Representative Candice Miller presented World War II medals posthumously to the family of Albert Picarella of Chesterfield for his service in World War II.

Picarella’s family gathered Aug. 8 at Miller’s office in Shelby Township to receive the military awards in honor of his service.

Attending the ceremony was Tom Danbert, son-in-law of Picarella, along with Picarella’s three daughters, two sons and their spouses. One of his sons was not in attendance due to personal reasons.

Picarella was raised in Detroit and on Aug. 21, 1943, was inducted into the U.S. Army.

During an offensive in Italy, he was captured by the Germans and taken as a Prisoner of War, moved by train to Germany and imprisoned for 13 months at Stalag 7A, Moosburg.

It was then liberated by the U.S. Forces. This led to Picarella’s discharge from the Army at the rank of Private First Class.

Following his discharge, Picarella was employed at Chrysler Corp., and later met his wife Mary Rizzo at a picnic at Chandler Park in Detroit. The two were married for 64 years.

Picarella passed away March 15 and is remembered as a man with a vivid imagination, according to his son-in-law.

“If he wanted to do something, he would find a way to get it done,” said Danbert. “When he was healthy, he was always outside during the summer. You would never find him indoors.”

The awards will stay with Picarella’s wife, and Danbert will be hanging them on the wall for her.

His family received the following service awards in his honor: Prisoner of War, Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, European-African Middle Eastern Campaign, World War II Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Honorable Service lapel pin.