S.Sgt. Joseph P. Fondacaro, Jr. was born in Amsterdam in 1917, one of 11 children of Joseph and Seraphina Fondacaro, immigrants from Calabria, Italy. He was inducted into the US. Army in 1941, sent to Ft. Dix, NJ and was later shipped to England in January 1944 to prepare for the Normandy invasion as a member of the 4th Division, Company C, 22nd Infantry. S.Sgt. Fondacaro was in the initial wave of the Normandy invasion of Utah Beach on June 6, 1944, participated in the liberation of several villages and cities in Northern France including Ste. Mere-Eglise, Cherbourg, Saint-Lo, Ste.-Marie-du-Mont, Bayeux and Caen. Wounded in battle on June 25, 1944, Joe was sent to a field hospital for treatment and recovery; then back to the battlefront to rejoin his Division. Later S.Sgt. Fondacaro was deployed with the 4th Division to Ardennes in the winter of 1944 to fight the Battle of the Bulge.
S.Sgt. Fondacaro participated in the battles and campaigns of Normandy, Central Europe, Ardennes, and the Rhineland and was awarded the American Defense Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal, the Victory in WWII Medal, a Good Conduct Medal and the Purple Heart. He received an Honorable Discharge in August of 1945 and returned to his family in Amsterdam to become a productive and contributing member of the community as a Third Degree Knight of Columbus, President of the Holy Name Society of St. Michael's Catholic Church and as a Major in the Amsterdam Division of the New York State Guard. In further recognition of his services, S.Sgt. Fondacaro was awarded the Conspicuous Service Award by the Adjutant General of the State of New York. The award was conferred upon him on December 7, 1967 by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller.