World War II veteran Private 1st Class Vincent R. Pagliaro marched into eternity on Nov. 9, 2015. He was 95, just short of his goal to “live to be 100.”
Pagliaro, a graduate of South Philadelphia High School, was drafted into the Army Air Corps in 1941. Prior to reporting for boot camp, he married his wife, the former Dolores Marie (Dee) McPeak.
An airplane electrical mechanic from 1941-1946, Pagliaro served his country honorably in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre of war. The warriors assigned to the CBI theatre had a collective mission to “stop an aggressive enemy from enslaving the people and plundering the resources of East Asian countries, specifically China, Burma and India.”
Every pilot who flew required four technical specialists to ensure the safety and reliability of their aircraft. Like Pagliaro, they performed their duties in spartan structures amidst unforgiving terrain and with the looming threat of enemy bombing raids.
Pagliaro was presented a patch from the Flying Tigers, officially called the American Volunteer Group, who were known for their planes with iconic shark faces on them. His skills, like those of the other airplane mechanic specialists, played an important role in the collective war effort.
Pagliaro was officially discharged from military service at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., after enduring several months at sea “on a very slow ship” coming back to the States.
Upon his return to the civilian sector, he capitalized on his skills as a typesetter and worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer for over 35 years, advancing with the emerging technologies from handset typesetting to machine typesetting.
With a sharp intuitive mind, Pagliaro was remembered for building his own television in the late 1940s when the postwar boom saw Americans transitioning from their dependence on the radio to new media.
Marie and Vincent Pagliaro raised their three children, Marie, Donna and Vincent, in Pennsauken, N.J., and had five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A patriotic American, Pagliaro was a member of The American Legion and was a past commander of VFW Post 1270 in Pennsauken. Three years ago, he had the pleasure of joining other World War II and Korean veterans on an “Honor Flight” that left from Williamstown High School and brought the honored guests to visit their monument in D.C.