Staff Sergeant Albert E. Filano

20th Army Air Force, WWII - Pacific, B29 Radar Bombardier/Navigator, DFC, Air Medal

Remembering - Staff Sergeant Albert E. Filano - MZHS "Hero of Air Power"

Albert E. Filano, son of James E. and Rosie Filano of Weedville (immigrants from Italy), is a native of Bennett’s Valley who did his best as a WW2 Army Air Force veteran as well as in his civilian life afterwards. Albert was born August 17, 1925, in Penfield, graduated in 1943 from Jay Township High School, and worked for a short time as a produce manager at Acme Markets in St Marys. His brothers, Arthur and Adolph Filano, also served both overseas and in the States.

Albert enlisted in the Army Air Forces in October 1943, and became a radar operator/bombardier/ navigator on a B29 Superfortress named “Punchin’ Judy”. He was assigned to the 20th AAF with the famed 500th Bomb Group, 881st Bomber Squadron. He served through the end of the war in 1945, having moved with the 881st Bomb Squadron in August 1944, to the Central Pacific Area at Isley Field on Saipan in the Marianna Islands. S/Sgt Albert Filano completed 33 bombing missions against the Japanese Home Islands. On November 24, 1944, the 500th participated in the first attack on Japan by B-29’s based in the Marianas. After that, they conducted many daylight raids, operating from high altitude to bomb strategic targets in Japan.

The group received two Distinguished Unit Citations for its missions. S/Sgt Albert Filano was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in the aerial flight of May 26 against the heavily defended city of Tokyo, Japan, also the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Victory-Japan medal and other campaign ribbons and medals. 

After the war, Albert received degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and then obtained his Ph.D. in mathematics education from Penn State University in 1954. Dr. Albert Filano served West Chester State College/University for more than 35 years as a mathematics professor, department chair, division director, academic vice president, interim president, and adviser to the Newman Center. A scholarship fund was established as part of the naming of Filano Hall, dedicated in August 2000, the 50th wedding anniversary of Dr. Albert and Mary Rita Filano. 

Dr. Albert Filano was awarded the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Service Award, the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics Outstanding Leader Award, the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the Bennett’s Valley Alumni Association, and the Outstanding Educators of America Award. Albert is a charter member of the Elk County Community Foundation which awards scholarships to deserving area students. 

In addition to be honored on the Weedville WW2 Honor Wall, it is with pride in this WW2 Valley veteran and educator that the Mt Zion Historical Society includes Staff Sergeant (and Dr.) Albert Filano as one of its special honorees in “Heroes of Air Power”. 

“Lest we Forget…”