Ciucci was born in Dudley, a small coal-mining town in southern
central Pennsylvania. His mother was of Irish English decent; his
father of Italian decent. He was the first born of eight children
- five boys and three girls. Though his father had come to this
country directly from Italy to work in the coalmines, he was adamant
that none of his children would pursue this as a occupation, and
none of them did.
attended elementary and high schools, graduating from the latter
in May 1942 at the age of 17 years. During his senior year in
high school, he had taken a Civil Service test for a job with
the U.S. Army Air Corps as an aircraft mechanic trainee at Olmsted
Air Base, Middleton Air Depot, PA. He passed the examination with
a 94.00 grade and received word from the Commission that he would
begin training the day following school commencement exercises.
On 28 May 1942, Pete left his home in Dudley for the 100-mile
trip to Harrisburg. Thus, his career in the Air Corps had begun.
length of the course was three months and the trainees were paid
900.00 per annum. Studies included aircraft fuselage, wings engine
and propeller repair and rigging as well as final assembly.
completion Ciucci was transferred to Olmsted Field to repair aircraft.
This brought a promotion to General Aircraft Mechanics Helper
at $1,500.00 per year. He worked mostly on fighters - P-38, P-39,
P-40 and P-41. Bombers included B-17, B-24, B-25 and the B-26.
He also got experience in the C-46 and C-47 - both cargo planes.
a reclassification that resulted in a promotion to Aircraft Mechanic
at a salary of $2,200 year, he received notice from his draft
board that he was needed for active duty. Although he could have
received deferment, he elected to accept active duty.
10 September 1943, he reported to the induction center at New
Cumberland Army Depot, Harrisburg, where he spent eleven days.
He was shipped from there to Greensboro, NC for basic training
and on 1 December 1943 was sent to Chanute Air Base in Illinois
for specialized training as an aircraft electrician.
a 15 delay en route home, he reported to Lincoln Army Air Base
in Nebraska for his next assignment, which turned out to be the
39th Bomb Group at SHAAF, Salina, KS. There, for the first time,
he worked on B-29s, a task that he had been trained for.