Theophile F. Lavizzo

Theophile Lavizzo Photo: Courtesy of Ted Lavizzo

Theophile Lavizzo
Photo: Courtesy of Ted Lavizzo

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

First Lt. Theophile Ferdinand Lavizzo, one of the few black officers in the 320th,  landed with his men on Utah Beach on D-Day. He remained on the beach, exposed under heavy fire, directing men from under his command as they landed throughout the day. For his courage and leadership, his superior nominated him for the Bronze Star. He never received the medal, the third-highest, and never learned why. Lavizzo said after the war that the 320th was headed to a land invasion at Okinawa, a mission obviated after the United States dropped twin atomic bombs in August 1945, and Japan surrendered. Lavizzo attended the University of Chicago, where he obtained a BA and and an MA. He settled in Chicago and worked as a trailblazing social worker, often the first African American on staff. He and his wife, Eulalia, had one son, Theodore. Lavizzo died in 1986 at age 73.

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