Angelo Lorenzo Papale

Angelo Lorenzo Papale

By Lori Kerns, AFRH-G Librarian

Angelo Lorenzo “Larry” Papale, born May 1, 1923, is the eldest of two sons born to Italian immigrants who came to America through Ellis Island.  Larry’s parents settled in San Francisco, CA to raise their family.  His father, who had been a professional boxer, opened a meat market in the area and his mother stayed home to raise the two boys.  Larry describes himself as the type of child that was not too bad but he said that he did make “some noise.”  When he was old enough to drive, he got a car and went looking for girls.  He says that he was definitely girl crazy.  To put it in his hilarious words, “I had my fling and I flung it!”

When Larry was about eighteen, WWII was getting hot and heavy.  As his memory serves him, it was around Christmastime when he got the call that he had been drafted.   Larry was first sent to serve as an infantryman.  He soon he got out but went back into the military joining the Air Force.  Originally, he wanted be a ball turret gunner because the idea “sounded romantic” to him but he couldn’t fit inside the compartment.  So his pilot told him that there were tail gunner positions open.  And that was a fit for him.  He was sent off to gunnery school at Laredo Army Airfield.  This is also where he began flying.  He had about five more months of soldiering and gunnery training and then he was off on his first mission, which was just a straight gunnery patrol mission in Kansas.  Larry was very lucky in his flying career.  He flew with the same crew, a very young crew, for THIRTY missions during WWII in their B-24 bomber.  Some of their missions had them patrolling, some were long, overnight missions, and many were combat missions located overseas where they were lucky to make it out alive. 

Always the ladies’ man, Larry still found time to get married even though he was flying around the world fighting for our country.  After several years in the Air Force, Larry decided to retire with the civil engineering training he received and raise his family of two boys, Arthur and Christopher.  His career as a draftsman eventually drew him down to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  He even designed the house where he lived in Biloxi. 

Upon retiring from his civilian job, he started hearing about AFRH-G, knowing he had to go live somewhere.  He says he enjoys living at AFRH-G because there’s “bunch of good fellows” that live here.  He also enjoys the food.  Those that know Larry, and there are many because he’s such a social butterfly, know that he’s an active resident who thoroughly enjoys many social activities such as bingo, current events, exercise, and many of the outings. He is definitely the life of the party wherever he is and can always be counted on for a laugh. One of a kind, Larry Papale is!