Tribute to a Hero: Armando ‘Chick’ Galella
Sad to learn of the passing of U.S. Army, World War II hero Armando “Chick” Galella at the age of 100. One of the most remarkable veterans I’ve ever had the honor of interviewing. I’ll always be grateful for the time he spent sharing the story of his service with me and I’m proud that Chick is one of the special warriors spotlighted in my documentary. Chick made the room light up with his smile and whenever he walked into the room, he was a rockstar to all who saw him. He made the world a better place.
Chick enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1940. At only 20 years old, he found himself serving with the 443rd Signal Corps at Hickam Field, adjacent to U.S. Naval Base, Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Chick survived the devastating Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He never forgot what happened on that “date which will live in infamy,” and helped lead the United States as it battled back. Chick’s experience in World War II came full circle. He was there at the very beginning when America was plunged into the conflict and he was on the ground during the conflict’s last major battle on the island of Okinawa over three years later. For his valor in the fight for Okinawa, a struggle one participant described as “the ultimate horror of war,” Chick earned the Bronze Star and was elevated to the rank of battalion sergeant major.
Skip to 12:16 in the video above to watch Chick's section in the This Is Why We Stand documentary.
I took many lessons away from my interview with Chick. He especially stressed the duty we all have to ensure that the brave men and women who defend our nation are properly supported, a lesson that needs constant repeating. As he reflected on Pearl Harbor, Chick said, “Devastation you wouldn’t believe. You wouldn’t believe what they did. Those men had no more chance than a snowball had in hell. We were not prepared, and that’s why I say to the government today, get them prepared our soldiers. The men and women in the service. Get them prepared. Don’t let that happen again to us.” Following Chick’s example, we must work tirelessly so that those who serve our nation always have everything they need to be primed for success and are prepared for every situation.