Nat Bellantoni was born on December 21, 1920, into a large and loving family of Italian immigrants in Boston’s South End. Two decades later, he found his plans to become an artist derailed by the cataclysm of World War II. Instead of finishing Mass College of Art and launching a career as a commercial artist, he found himself in the South Pacific, assigned to the United States Navy’s 78th Construction Battalion. Nat lived and worked on several different islands; his longest assignment was in the Admiralties, amidst jungle heat and humidity, bugs and snakes, tropical diseases, monsoon rains, and native volunteers who had all too recently been head hunters.
Always gregarious, with a ready smile and genuine interest in the people and events around him, Nat made it his mission to document his experiences. He sketched. He painted. And he saved the flotsam and jetsam of his sojourn.
Once the war was won, Nat returned home, eager to resume the life he had left behind three years earlier. He married his sweetheart, raised a family, pursued and succeeded in a career as Art Director in a prestigious downtown Boston firm. His boxes of wartime memorabilia were stored away, seemingly forgotten. Until… his children were grown, his mortgage was paid, and he began to reconnect with old friends and old memories. At age 91, Nat dreamed of sharing his wartime story. This book is the fulfillment of that dream.