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Derby's own Silvio Nero honored for his WW II service. A remarkable story of courage.

POSTED September 22, 2019
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: When you think about what you were doing during your senior year in high school, I’m pretty sure you didn’t do what this astounding gentleman did back in December of 1941, two weeks after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Silvio Nero was just about to enter his senior year at Derby High School when the attacks occurred and plunged the United States into World War II.

Moved to help in any way he could, Nero went to his local recruiting office, lied about his age, skipped his senior year and signed up to go to war.

Let me repeat that line for those in the back of the room.

He passed on staying safe at home in Derby with his 10-other brothers and sisters to go and put himself in harms way, as did two of his brothers.

His brother John was part of the invasion of Normandy Beach in 1944 and lost his life in the process.

Nero would go and serve in the Navy and was aboard a converted aircraft carrier named the Suani which supported the air campaign in the Pacific.

In October of 1944, the Suani was deployed as part of a large force in the US invasion of the Philippines. During the battle, the Suani was attacked by a wave of Japanese suicide bombers, with Nero being blown off the deck of the ship from his rear gunner position.

Half of his crew that day didn’t make it but Nero did.

He came back to his community and has been a regular at Raider football games ever since.

That sacrifice is something to simply marvel at. While it happened more often than most of us know back in 1941 as young men rushed to help their country, it’s extremely important for all of us to remember.

Nero was given his graduation diploma on Friday night before the Torrington/Derby football game on the brand-new complex at the school and took part in the coin toss at midfield.

Wars will never be fought like they ha to be in World War II and while we pray that we don’t have any more wars that lead to so many lives lost, I hope anyone who reads this or was on hand Friday night understands a little better the character of the men and women who helped protect our way of life.

We should all be so brave and so selfless.

Well done Mr. Nero, we thank you.

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