Skip to main content

Domenico Arena

PVT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co A


Born 1908 in Italy, Died 2007

County of residence at enlistment: New York County, NY
Other residence(s): Italy
United States Army, did not accompany the unit to Europe
Occupation before the war: plasterers
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson; photo from Arena family tree on Ancestry® (1952)

Domenico Arena was born on September 8 (or 10 or 11) in Augusta, Siracusa, Italy, on the southeast coast of Sicily. He was the third of eight children and his father was a plasterer.

The family was bi-continental—living for a time in the US and then returning to Italy. Domenico's two older sisters had been born in the US, but then he and the next two children were all born in Italy. Then one more in the US, one more in Italy, and their eighth child in the US in 1921.

Domenico had a grammar school education and then went to work as a plasterer, probably with his father. He registered for the draft on October 16, 1940; at that time he stated that he was working for R.W. Palmieri. His June 9, 1942 enlistment record reinforces his profession as plasterer.

He was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion, but did not go to Europe with the unit—according to his VA death record, he was discharged from the Army for unknown reasons on March 27, 1943.

Very little is known about the rest of his life. He did become a US citizen (though the information on timing is not clear). Both of his parents died in Siracusa (in 1956 and 1968), so they had returned there permanently at some point. Domenico traveled to Italy for four months in the summer and fall of 1951 to visit family so they had probably returned to Italy by then.

He died on January 12, 2007 in Italy, likely back in his ancestral home in Siracusa.


1952 photo from Arena Family Tree on


1913 immigration record

1915 New York state census

1920 shipboard manifest Palermo to NY

1925 New York state census

1927-1929 declaration and petition for citizenship

1940 draft card

1942 enlistment record

1951 shipboard manifest NY to Naples

1951 shipboard manifest Naples to NY

2007 VA death record

2007 Social Security applications and claims index

2007 Social Security death index (indicates he was living in Italy at the time of his death)

Please Support Our Ongoing Efforts

The soldiers of The Ghost Army used inflatable tanks, sound effects, and imagination to fool the Germans on the battlefields of Europe. The Ghost Army Legacy Project is ensuring that these men and their accomplishments are never forgotten.

Give via credit card by clicking the yellow “Donate” button.

Or, send a check to:

Ghost Army Legacy Project
1305 S. Michigan Ave. #1104
Chicago, IL 60605

All donations are tax-deductible!