Staff Sgt. Thomas E. Vitagliano from the Class of 1989, served in the U.S. Army, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment in Korea before being transferred to Iraq in 2004. While there, he worked on many civil projects including distributing food to residents. Four months after arriving in Ramadi, he was lost when he threw himself over two fellow soldiers as a car bomb exploded. Tommy was the first soldier from West Haven killed in action in Operation Freedom. His heroism has been honored in a number of ways, including having part of Route 34 named in his memory. He is also remembered in the Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial in Middletown, Conn.
Tommy attended Virginia's Hargrave Military Academy after leaving Hamden Hall. Before joining the Armyin 1990, he served briefly in the U.S. Marine Corps. Tommy was the son of Gaetano Thomas Vitagliano and Inger Lise Severine.
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