GUNNER'S MATE SECOND CLASS ALBERT V. SPINELLI was born on May 5, 1922. The youngest of four children, he was the son of Joseph and Jennie Spinelli, both of whom had emigrated from Italy before America became involved in World War I. The Spinelli family lived at 327 Royden Street in 1920, 419 South 3rd Street in the mid-1920s (1924-1927), and by 1929 had moved to 420 Clinton Street, where they remained through at least the spring of 1930. The family later moved to 1118 Collings Road in Camden's Fairview section.
Albert Spinelli attended the Camden County Vocational School in Pennsauken NJ, and worked for the Campbell Soup Company in Camden before entering the Navy in September of 1942. After joining the Navy, Albert Spinelli was stationed at the naval base in New Orleans LA. After three years stateside, he went overseas in August of 1945 with the newly commissioned minesweeper USS Minivet AM-371.
The USS Minivet was laid down July 19, 1944 by Savannah Machine and Foundry Co. of Savannah, GA. It was launched on November 8, 1944, and was sponsored by Miss Henrietta G. Jerrell. It was commissioned on May 29, 1945 by Lt. Comdr. Richard Lagreze, who was in command. The Minivet concluded shakedown training at Little Creek, VA, and on August 22, steamed out of Norfolk, en route to assignment in the Far East. She arrived at Sasebo, Japan on October 30 with Mine Division 23 to play her part in opening the sea lanes to peacetime commerce.
During her first month in the area, escort trips to Pusan, Korea, and from Okinawa left little time to stream her minesweeping gear. After a brief availability period, AM-371 departed Sasebo on December 23 in company with eight Japanese vessels to complete the sweeping of the Tsushima Straits, about fifty miles northwest of Kyushu Island, Japan. Following in the wake of the second pass of the day on December 29, she struck a mine and in a matter of minutes, rolled over and sank. Despite the discipline and courageous action of her crew and the bravery of American and Japanese rescuers, the Minivet suffered the loss of 31 men. She became the first American minesweeper lost during these hazardous operations that had destroyed 20,000 mines since the end of the war. Her name was stricken from the Navy list on January 21, 1946, after the logbook and the last of the survivors returned to the United States.
Navy records state that Albert Spinelli was survived by his wife, Mrs. Marie Carmalite Spinelli of 319 Diana Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Albert Spinelli was brought home in the spring of 1949. He was buried at Beverly National Cemetery on May 18, 1949. He was survived by his parents, brother James, and two sisters, Mrs. Caroline Mariano, and Mrs. Virginia Sorantino.
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