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General Patton’s Barber

WWII Veteran Cosmo Monell started barbering at age 14. He became so good that when he was drafted for service in WWII he took on the assignment of cutting all the GI’s, all the soldiers hair. General Patton learned of Cosmo’s expertise and requested him to come over and cut his hair. Patton was so pleased with the results he had Cosmo Monell travel with him as his personal barber all over Europe as brother and fellow WWII Veteran Michael Monell shares in this  excerpt from an oral history interview    on November 9th, 2011. 

Michael says, “Patton was a mean guy, but everybody loved him. He was a great general, very great generals at that time.” 

When Cosmo Monell left the military he chose to settle in Kissimmee, FL where he opened a barber shop on Main Street and became known throughout Kissimmee as “Tony the Barber”.

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WWII Veteran Michael A. Monell
Photo of World War II Veteran Michael A. Monell at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, November 9, 2011. Michael is one of...
Eight Monell Brothers for WWII Service
Orlando resident Michael Monell is pictured in "Eight Monell Brothers", a 1943 news article from Fairmont Times, VA. Eight brothers from one family...
WWII Veteran Cosmo Monell
WWII Veteran Cosmo Monell started barbering at age 14. He became so good that when he was drafted for service in WWII...
WWII Veteran Frank Monell
WWII Veteran Frank Monell was in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944 and survived. He was shot at three times and saved 56...
WWII Veteran Michael Monell
Photo of World War II Veteran and Orlando resident Michael A. Monell. Michael is one of the eight brothers from one family all ready...
WWII Veteran Felix Monell
Known as the Bazooka Man by his platoon, Felix Monell spent days behind enemy lines stringing up wire for U.S. troop communications...
General Patton's Barber

WWII Veteran Cosmo Monell started barbering at age 14. He became so good that when he was drafted for service in WWII he took on the assignment of cutting all the GI's, all the soldiers hair. General Patton learned of Cosmo's expertise and requested him to come over and cut his hair. Patton was so pleased with the results he had Cosmo Monell travel with him as his personal barber all over Europe as brother and fellow WWII Veteran Michael Monell shares in this excerpt from an oral history interview on November 9th, 2011. 

Michael says, "Patton was a mean guy, but everybody loved him. He was a great general, very great generals at that time." 

When Cosmo Monell left the military he chose to settle in Kissimmee, FL where he opened a barber shop on Main Street and became known throughout Kissimmee as "Tony the Barber".

 




"Tony the Barber"

WWII Veteran Michael Monell shares how his brother, Cosmo,  started his career as a barber at age 14, entered the service in WWII, and came to settle in Kissimmee with a barber shop on Main Street.

Michael says, "Everyone in Kissimmee knew my brother. They called him 'Tony the Barber'." He was very involved with the Knights of Columbus and very active in church life in the Kissimmee  community.  

Listen to  this firsthand account of history from Orlando resident, Michael Monell, of Saint James Cathedral, November 9th, 2011.

 

 




WWII Veteran Domineck Monell

Domineck Monell volunteered for service in WWII and entered the Air Force. He  served  as  a mechanic working on P-51's. His military  service included  a visit to Fort Myers where he fell in love with Florida. He went home to  Fairmont, VA got his wife and they settled in Jacksonville, FL where Domineck worked at the Naval Air Station for 30 years as a mechanic and shop manager.  

Domineck  Monell is one of the eight Monell brothers  from Fairmont, VA  ready to serve their country in WWII. Six of the Monell brothers were drafted and two received their notice. One brother, Tony, the first to ship out in the Invasion of 1944 was killed in battle. Frank Monell,  rescued 56 men at the Battle of the Bulge, was shot three times, and survived POW camp. He lives now in a VA nursing home.

Orlando resident and WWII Veteran  Michael Monell says, "My family was very proud of what we did."  

Hear this excerpt from Michael Monell's oral history interview at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, November 9, 2011.




WWII Veteran Michael Monell

When Michael Monell and his wife came to Orlando in 1955, they bought their first house out in the country, what is today known as Fashion Square Mall area. Mike recalls asking his wife, "Don't you think it is too far from Orlando? Look how far we'd be from downtown."

In this excerpt from an oral history interview at Saint James Cathedral on November 9th, 2011, WWII Veteran Michael Monell shares how his parents came to this country, worked in the coal mines of West Virginia, raised 10 children through the Great Depression, eight of whom would go on to prepare for military service in WWII.

Michael followed his dream to come to Florida where two of his brothers were living in Kissimmee and Jacksonville.

He entered the wholesale business and did very well working with all the hotels and restaurants in the area.

From the day his father arrived in this country at age 21 looking for work, the Monell family has cherished the values of hard work and service to God and country.

WWII Veteran Michael Monell still serves his community as an usher at St. James Cathedral in downtown Orlando and has served for years as Commander of the local American Veterans post leading groups to volunteer at VA clinics in our area.

 

 

 

 




WWII Veteran Michael A. Monell

Michael Monell was drafted in 1943 and sent to St. Petersburg, FL to experience "The Jungle" in preparation for service in the South Pacific.

As it turns out, his WWII  tour of duty was in Europe where he served for  three and a half  years.

Michael is one of the eight Monell  brothers  from  Fairmont, VA  all ready to serve their country during World War II.

As Michael Monell shares his brother, Tony, was in the first group out for the Invasion of 1944 and was killed in battle at St. Loe, France.

His brother, Frank, served in the Battle of the Bulge and saved 56 men despite being shot three times. He was awarded three Purple Hearts and the Silver Star. He weighed 97 lbs. when the Russians rescued him from the POW camp and was still bleeding, but made it home to the United States where he lives now in a VA nursing home.

Brother Cosmo, became so well known in the service for cutting the GI's hair that General Patton recruited him as his personal barber. After the war he would become famous in our area as "Tony the Barber" with a shop on Main Street in Kissimmee.

Domineck, joined the Air Force and worked on P-51s during the war. He then settled in Jacksonville where he worked at the Naval Air Station for 30 years.

After his military service, Mike dreamed of one day returning to Florida.

He says, "I loved Florida so much. It was just different, so clean."

Eights years later in 1955 Mr. Monell and his family moved to Florida as he shares in this excerpt from an oral history interview at St. James Cathedral, November 9th, 2011.

 




WWII Veteran Felix Monell

Known as the Bazooka Man by his platoon, Felix Monell spent days behind enemy lines stringing up wire for U.S. troop communications in Italy during WWII. He was awarded the silver star with the oak leaf cluster for his service to our country in the 361st Infantry Regiment, 91st Division.

Orlando resident and WWII veteran Michael Monell describes how his brother became an interpreter during WWII and later moved to Kissimmee, FL where he became an award winning bowler. Learn more about the extraodinary military service of the Monell brothers in this 9 minute 31 second excerpt from an oral history interview on February 10, 2012 at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.

Michael Monell states, "Our parents were very proud of their sons that we were ready to lay down our lives in harm's way for the sake of freedom."

 




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