WWII vet lives life of service and sacrifice

- He's a great American hero, one of only a few left among our greatest generation. His contribution to country and service is What's Right With Tampa Bay.

"We went from Peru. They loaded us up on a ship to invade Okinawa," recalled World War II veteran William Ferro.

The 89-year-old has quite a tale to tell about his service on the island of Okinawa in the South Pacific.

"The Navy shelled that island for 70 days," Ferro explained. "The United States lost 54,000 and we killed 258,000 of the Japanese." 

An intense ground battle ensued after the bombing. William said they drove the Japanese to the edge of the island.

"A lot of them committed Harry Carry jump off the cliff when we had them at the end," Ferro said. "The sad part is they had the woman and the kids jump over the cliff and kill themselves, too."

After they had secured the island, they were in route to Japan when the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

"And that completely destroyed two cities," Ferro added. "They surrendered."

William joined the Marines in 1943 when he was 16-years-old.

"The war started and a bunch of kids got together. Everybody wanted to go into the service," Ferro remembered.

After the war, he came back to the states and started his own mechanic shop in Pennsylvania. He now lives in St. Pete.

"Life's been good to me. I built up a nice business.  I had a good life," Ferro said.

He earned numerous awards for his service.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • WWII vet lives life of service and sacrifice
  • Bay Area collegiate swimmer encourages kids to get in the water
  • Children's Cancer Center gives families a place to escape
  • What's Right with Tampa Bay: Operation Military Matters
  • Bayou Nature Center connects children with nature
  • Creative writing workshops for kids promote literacy
  • Tampa Bay Heralds of Harmony win big in Vegas
  • Son honor's father's legacy of volunteering
  • Christmas in July benefits young patients
  • "Backpacks of Hope" for students in need of school supplies