Interview, Vito Scarpetta, USN
Vito Scarpetta was born in New York City in 1948. He graduated from Central Commercial High School and got a job working as a clerk and teller at First National City Bank. Scarpetta decided to enlist in the United States Navy in June 1967. He completed basic training at Great Lakes Naval Station, in Illinois, and was stationed on the USS Maury in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On his second tour of duty, Scarpetta was stationed in DaNang, Vietnam, and worked on the Navy supply detail. He was honorably discharged in 1970 and went to work in finance, a field that eventually brought him to Rochester, New York. Scarpetta retired from Citi Bank in 2008, joined the local Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 20, and became a volunteer at the VA Medical Center in Canandaigua.
In this interview, Scarpetta discusses the many places he traveled and how he was able to “see the world” as a sailor in the Navy. He tells a story about calling his girlfriend from Sydney, Australia, and finding out that the long-distance call cost her several hundred dollars. Scarpetta talks a lot about his family and shares that one of his younger brothers was drafted, but did not have to go into the military because Scarpetta was already serving. He recalls witnessing the Tet Offensive in 1968 and seeing a nearby Marine base targeted by rockets during the attack. He also shares a story about trying to track down his good friend, Ralph, whom he met in basic training. Scarpetta wrote a short story about this experience called “Finding Ralph,” which was published in the Chapter 20 newsletter, Between the Lines, in 2012.