Dom Mancini, 91, of Lewiston, passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 11, 2013 in Niagara Hospice House in Lockport, NY, after a lengthy illness. He was born in Niagara Falls, NY on January 31, 1922, the son of the late Bernadino and Carmella (Santarella) Mancini.
He graduated from Trott Vocational School and enlisted in the Army Air Corps on August 21, 1942. After his basic training, Dom graduated from the Colorado Armament School as a Staff Sargent and became an instructor. He was deployed overseas in August of 1943 and was stationed in Kimbolton, England with the 379th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, and 524th Bomb Squadron as a Tail Gunner on the Flying Fortress. He completed his 25 missions (un scathed) including the famous "Black Thursday" Mission on October 14, 1943 over Schweinfurt, Germany to destroy an important ball bearing plant. They had 219 planes in battle, losing 77 with 219 damaged. His plane sustained 302 holes. On another mission he saved his crew by releasing a "hanging bomb." Dom was Honorably Discharged on May 27, 1944 being awarded two Presidential Unit Citations, a Commendation from Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the Air Medal with three Oak Clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Upon returning from the War, Dom married the former Elaine Donia on November 25, 1947 and soon moved to California. He was employed by Thrifty Mart a supermarket chain as the Director of Deli Operations for 71 stores and 104 warehouses stretching up and down the coast of California and as far east as Las Vegas. After 43 years in California he decided to return to Niagara Falls. Dom loved baseball, and while in basic training called him "The Great Mancini". After his discharge from the Air Force, he earned his pilot's license because of his love for flying. He was also a lover of music and loved to sing. He sang at Luigi's Night Club in the 1940's and was a great fan of Frank Sinatra, collecting all his memorabilia and he was also fortunate enough to meet him several times.