Sidelines: Cifone shares passion for WWII Memorabilia

Memorabilia brought in by employees is represented above.

In honor of Memorial Day, Chip Cifone, Senior Director of Client Tech Services & Support, discusses his love of history and talks about his favorite hobby, collecting World War II memorabilia.

FR: How long have you been with ESPN?

CF: Fifteen years. I was born and raised in Bristol, so it’s been fun watching it grow.

FR: How did you become interested in collecting World War II memorabilia?

CF: I’ve always had an interest in history. As far as I can remember I’ve been intrigued by the whole aspect of warfare outside the political side, the pioneers of warfare technology, and how espionage and the CIA kind of got started from World War II. The collecting part was sort of by accident, in my early teens, when a friend of the family gave me a German helmet. This was my first piece. I’ve been collecting for 30 years now.

FR: How do you obtain the artifacts you collect?

CF: I had the honor to meet a lot of World War II veterans and they sometimes have things they want to share, so I’ve obtained some of my collection through them. There’s a whole network of World War II veterans and collectors, and we exchange.

FR: Where do you display your collection?

CF: In my basement. I have what you would consider a man cave, and it’s all dedicated to my collection.

FR: What is your favorite piece that you have collected?

CF: An after action report, the Commanding Officer’s Copy. It is an original copy of (official U.S. Army combat historian) S.L.A. Marshall’s report on the Battle of Carentan in Normandy. Marshall had the access to interview people soon after they had been pulled out of the line. While still fresh in their memory, he was able to get an after action report on what had transpired. The copy belonged to LTC Steve Chappuis. So this is probably my most prized possession.

FR: What is your most recent piece?

CF: A version of the M1 rifle that I had been looking for, for a long time is my last purchased. General George Patton heralded the M1 as “the greatest battle implement ever devised.”

FR: Do you share your passion with your children?

CF: Yes, my daughter. She thinks it’s cool. She enjoys watching the History Channel and she likes to watch the archive. The History Channel always has a wide variety of documentaries and movies. She likes the action, so she likes to play the WWII games with her Xbox, and through that she is beginning to understand what the history behind it is, and the gaming element. So she is very interested in the background and in watching the footage, so she watches the History Channel quite a bit, and she is very engaged.

FR: Were you in the military?

CF: I have not been in the military, but my father and grandfather were.

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