Written by Cassie Pagliaruli, Meghan Oates, Karlena Tyburski and Justin Zhang; Seventh graders at Catherine McGee Middle School.
Corporal Lino D. Girone was killed August 16, 1943 on New Georgia Island at the Battle of Munda. He was cut down by Japanese machine gun fire as his unit was taking the Japanese airfield on the island. Corporal Girone’s best buddy, Private Windham Lambert, from Louisiana, helped bury the body and took special care of his grave while still on the island. The 169th infantry, formerly the National Guard unit from New Britain, was a major part of United States forces at Munda on this day. Another Berlin hero, Sergeant Masselle, survived the fighting with minor injuries.
The parents of Corporal Girone learned of their son’s untimely death by a telegram from the war department. He was their only child.
Lino D. Girone was a member of the first graduating class of Berlin High School in 1936. His yearbook tells of his athletic accomplishments as varsity football captain and varsity baseball captain. He was also prominent in his class, working on the Beacon Staff and the Student Council.
Around town he was credited with starting the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department and served as its first President. He was a candidate for State Representative from Berlin in 1938. He attended Arnold College in New Haven and one of the first from town to enlist in the army.
Vic Baccaro, age 90, a war hero in his own right, tells of “Chick” Girone as “an older boy who would stop by the Treasure Field ball field as we played baseball” and give us tips on playing baseball, watching us and encouraging us at our game.
Corporal Lino D. “Chick” Girone gave his life so we could live ours in peace. We would like to honor him by allowing the people of Berlin to know a little about him as we approach this coming Memorial Day. Our school, Catherine McGee Middle School, is going to lay the first annual brick (to honor those in town that lost their lives serving our country) in his name in our school’s garden. We are going to make this an annual event on Memorial Day.
We wrote this article to honor our fallen hero. We want to thank Private Frank Masselle for telling us about Corporal Girone at one of our Veteran’s Day Ceremonies. We also want to thank our Librarian, Ms. Laurie Averill and Lieutenant Colonel Tammy Stocking for helping us find information on Corporal Girone
Lastly we want to thank all our soldiers who lost their lives fighting for our country and for freedom for all.