P. R. (Tony) Tonelli, was born on February 13, 1922 in Cottonwood, AZ.
He joined the Navy on June 6, 1939, and was assigned to the USS Saratoga on November 15, 1939. Tonelli was a Voice Tube Operator on flight deck to the bridge.
He participated in carrier qualifications and delivering Marine fighter planes to bolster the defenders of Wake Island.
Tonelli achieved the rank of ADRCS (E-8) Super Chief Petty Officer.
He has several memorable experiences from the Saratoga: crossing the equator, having a plane miss the barrier wires and crash into the barrier net. Tonelli also remembers the time he was at the voice tube only ten feet from where the plane hit the net and going through minor overhaul at Bremerton Naval Shipyard.
He was discharged on December 6, 1963.
Tonelli was awarded the Good Conduct (four stars), Presidential Unit Citation, China Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Navy Overseas Service Ribbon, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal and Republic of Korea Presidential Citation.
He is now retired and has been a secretary/treasurer of the USS Saratoga Reunion Association for 33 years. He is parliamentarian for Elks Lodge, Italian/American Club and Toastmasters International. He is a member of Knights of Columbus 3rd and 4th Degrees.