Girl From Greece: Boardman man tells story of grandfather’s survival

John Mingo said he wanted people to hear his grandfather's story of fighting against the Nazis in World War II

Mingo said he wanted people to hear his grandfather's story of fighting in World War II, leading to the publication of a book.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – During the middle of World War II, an Italian unit decided to stand up to the Nazis.

Valley native Capt. John Mingo’s grandfather, Alessandro Rasile, was among those men, and during that time, he wrote detailed accounts of the events in a journal.

Wednesday, his story is being published as a book, “The Girl from Greece: An Italian Soldier’s Story of Surviving World War II.”

Mingo, who grew up in Campbell and now lives in Boardman, said he just wanted people to hear his grandfather’s story of his bravery.

“He’s the bravest person I ever met. I’m in awe with everything he went through, and all those other soldiers. I even get choked up, even when I think about it, just because how incredible his story was,” Mingo said.

Once a member in Mingo’s unit heard the story, he knew he needed to help get it out there.

Dustin Lawson, an author, told Ringo that he could write the book. The two had in translated and turned into the book.

The story begins in September 1943, on the small island of Cephalonia, Greece.

The 33rd Acqui Division was in limbo. They were going up against their former allies, the Nazis, but did not have the full support.

Almost every man in the soldier’s unit was captured or killed.

“I think it’s very admirable that they sacrificed so much because that was their conviction,” Ringo said.

The books tells many stories of what happened that year, but there’s one that stands out to Lawson and Ringo.

It was a night the soldier was on the run and hid in a merchant’s store with the help of the merchant’s 8-year-old daughter.

Then, in 1968, Rasile went to a hospital in New York City after breaking his leg.

“After a couple days of being there, in walks about a 30-year-old nurse intern. She’s like, ‘You don’t know me, but I recognize you. I was that little girl,'” Lawson recalled.

For more stories like how Rasile escaped a German firing squad and even how he made it through two POW camps, you can pick up your copy of the book on

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