World War II hero still swinging in West Harrison at age 97

Growing up in the Bronx in a family of 11 children, an 18-year-old Jerry Shallo enlisted as soon as World War II broke out.

News 12 Staff

Nov 30, 2022, 5:44 PM

Updated 541 days ago

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During the golf season you can find a unique foursome hitting the links at the Saxon Wood Golf Course in Scarsdale: Tony and Peter Grillo, ages 83 and 85, 94-year-old Riggie Marsico, and the elder statesman of the group – 97-year-old Jerry Shallo.
Growing up in the Bronx in a family of 11 children, an 18-year-old Shallo enlisted as soon as World War II broke out. "I wanted to go into the Navy as soon as the war broke out. Everybody was in World War II, everybody wanted to enlist, nobody wanted to stay home."
During the war, Shallo found himself at the helm of a 50-foot landing craft called an LCM. He knew nothing about boats but volunteered anyway. "I didn't even know what the hell a boat was. They gave me third-class rate."
Shallo, who lives on Jefferson Street in West Harrison in a house he and his brothers built themselves 68 years ago, has some war stories to tell
Just weeks before the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasions, Shallo and his crew were sent to the Plymouth Naval Base in England, one of the principal staging posts. As soon as the fleets sailed off, Shallo and the rest of the crews were actually locked up to make sure word of the invasion wouldn't get out. "We couldn't talk to nobody. Because we've seen the whole invasion fleet out in Plymouth Harbor. The whole invasion fleet. There was ship after ship after ship. So, they put us in the brig."
Not long after D-Day, Shallo was sent over to Omaha Beach. His older brother Louie was with another unit nearby and like a scene out of the movies, officers helped arrange for the two to meet. Louie, a Bronze Star recipient and now 100 years old, attended this year's Harrison Veteran's Day ceremonies with Jerry. The brothers say getting to see each other during the war was special. "I stayed there that night. And he left the next day. And the next morning, I had to go back. And I saw a lot of things I could tell you about, them digging the graves for our soldiers that died...it brings tears to my eyes."
In March of 1945, Shallo escorted Gen. George S. Patton's legendary Third Army as they crossed the Rhine River into Central Germany. Patton pulled right up to Shallo's LCM. "We were on a tank retriever. I looked down at him, and I saw his shiny helmet, his hat. His helmet was shiny."
Shallo received a citation for his actions that day. Operating his LCM, he was the first to cross the Rhine River. It was a pivotal moment of the war. "Once they got across the Rhine, the war was over."
To see the full story of an American hero, tune into News 12 tonight at 5 p.m.


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