Donald McCloud, Joe Triolo and Joe's brother Johnny were raised together in the mining community at Monaville, West Virginia. As teenagers Donald drove a delivery truck for the Island Creek Coal Company; Joe worked in a coal mine at Roosemore, West Virginia and Johnny had not gained employment at this time. Joe did not like working in the coal mine and decided to join the Navy. While Joe was waiting to be called, Johnny also applied to enlist. While Joe and Johnny were waiting to be shipped out, Donald joined the Navy and was undergoing recruit training at Norfolk. Joe and Johnny were assigned to the USS Oklahoma for duty. The two brothers reported aboard in early 1938, in Long Beach, California.
Donald was given the option to select a ship for duty; he chose the USS Oklahoma. Shortly after Donald reported aboard, the USS Oklahoma was directed to transfer fifty seamen for duty in Asia. The word went out from the executive officer's office for volunteers. Joe volunteered along with forty-nine other seaman; Johnny and Donald remained onboard.
In November 1941, Johnny was transferred to shore duty in Norfolk, Virginia. After Joe's ship the USS Tangier was placed in commission, it was also assigned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Tangier arrived at Pearl Harbor November 3, 1941. Joe, knowing the USS Oklahoma was in port, immediately contacted Donald. They arranged to meet December 6, 1941; on that day the Oklahoma's baseball team was scheduled to play an opposing ship. After the game, Joe borrowed twp dollars from Donald to go to the enlisted mans club to drink beer. They visited as long as they could, until it was time to return to their respective ship. At that point little did they know that they would never see one another again. The next day December 7, 1941, Donald's ship, the USS Oklahoma, was the first ship sunk by the Japanese surprise attack. The Oklahoma capsized in the harbor where she was moored, entombing Donald and more than four hundred of his shipmates.
Joe survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, and World War II in the Pacific theatre. His brother Johnny also survived.