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Prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and America's entry into the war, Albert was working in Mexico, playing the clown and doing a high wire act with the Escalante Brothers' Circus. While there, he photographed German U-boat activity as an "amateur spy" for US Army Intelligence.
He joined the US Navy in 1942, was commissioned, and in 1943 took part in the first wave of the assault on Tarawa Atoll by the US 2nd Marine Division. For his role in a series of rescue missions - 26 in all - during the fighting at Tarawa, Albert was awarded a Bronze Star.