U.S. Navy 1942–1947
James “Sam” Agostinelli graduated from Natick High School in 1937 and enlisted in the Navy in 1942 “to see the world.” In his six years of service Sam was assigned to the aircraft carriers USS Sangamon and USS Steamer Bay and saw action in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He describes his duties on the USS Sangamon: pilots qualifying for carrier landings, night training and responding to plane crashes. On the USS Steamer Bay he was a “yellow shirt,” a plane director. He talks about the damage from the Kamikazes, catapulting planes from the carrier and their naval support at Okinawa and Iwo Jima. Back in the States, Sam was stationed in Memphis, where he met his future wife, and was discharged two months early as an Aviation Machine Mate 2nd Class.