Louis M. Giuliano Jr.

Date of Birth

October 9, 1927

Date of Death

December 14, 2020

Louis M. Giuliano Jr. passed away on December 14, 2020, at Channel Islands Post Acute nursing home in Santa Barbara shortly after entering hospice care. He was 93.

Born October 9, 1927, in New York City, Louis was the son of Louis M. Guiliano Sr. and Rachelle Guiliano, both of whom predeceased him. Louis changed the spelling of his name to Giuliano in the 1990s so it would be pronounced correctly when he traveled overseas. And it actually was the original spelling of the family name when his ancestors emigrated to America via Ellis Island, when a clerk misspelled it.

Louis made news in Santa Barbara in November 2003 when he was finally awarded a Purple Heart 57 years after having earned it with heroic acts protecting his platoon on Okinawa in World War II. Having lied about his age to enlist, the 17-year-old combat Marine landed on the beaches of Okinawa in April 1945. He was ordered to move up into the hills to protect the beach area from the Japanese. Louis and a fellow Marine, Jacob Christoff, encountered about 35 Japanese coming up the trail. The duo opened fire on the enemy, Christoff shot a scout, but his carbine jammed so he started hurling grenades into the middle and rear of the column to prevent them from escaping,

Louis shot a second scout and a soldier manning the machine gun, then jumped out of his foxhole and ran about 50 feet to engage the other two Japanese in hand-to-hand combat. He suffered a knife wound in his left arm, cuts on his face, a bullet creased his left leg, was beaten with rifle butts, and he was kicked in the groin as he used his K-bar knife to dispatch the enemy. When other Marines reached him, he had already taken out the enemy and had to be treated by medics. He spent six weeks in sick bay recuperating from his wounds.

Prior to combat, Louis had seven weeks of basic training, then advance combat training at Camp Lejeune, special training in the Do or Die program, learning to kill without a weapon, dirty street fighting, special weapons and Japanese style of Judo. The Marines compacted 15 years of combat training into these sessions.

Louis had been inspired to join the Marines because his father had already enlisted in the Army Air Force in February 1942. Louis Sr. was sent to China with the 14th Army as part of the Flying Tigers, and was a bomber pilot.

On his enlistment application, Louis had changed his birth year to 1925. But the Marines allowed him to remain enlisted because by the time they found out, he had already successfully completed boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. He served from November 18, 1943, to March 9, 1947. He returned to the U.S. in 1946, and served as personal bodyguard to James Forrestal, then-secretary of the Navy. One year later he was honorably discharged.

Louis got married in 1951 to the former Caroline Colombo in South Ozone Park, NY. The couple had two sons, Robert and Edward, now 69 and 65, respectively. The couple divorced in 1960 and Louis remained in California, living in Santa Barbara and then Carpinteria for the rest of his life. Caroline passed away in Reno, Nevada, in 2017. Louis’s mother, Rachelle Schnier (having remarried and widowed) lived in Carpinteria for many years, and passed away in 1986.

Louis was socially active in Santa Barbara, having served as an usher during Masses at the Old Mission for many years. Actually, a few times situations got rough and he had to “bounce” disruptive people from the church, even disarming one who brandished a knife. He belonged to Parents Without Partners, was active in social events at the Old Mission, including as general chairman for a steak barbecue with his son, Edward, performing on the drums with his band, The Rainbow.

In later years, he attended Mt. Carmel church in Montecito. Louis was also a lifelong member of the Elks Lodge in Santa Barbara. He enjoyed hanging out at the Yacht Club and various Starbucks with friends to shoot the breeze.

Welch-Ryce Haider Funeral Chapels handled Louis’s preparation for flight to Arlington National Cemetery for a full military burial. The date is to be determined. No wake was permitted due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by Governor Gavin Newsom. Donations may be made to the charity of your choice in Louis’s name.


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