Friday, 28 May 2010 00:00
The City of Glen Cove Memorial Day Parade Committee has named Rocco A. Imerti as the 2010 Parade Honoree. The parade will begin at noon on Memorial Day, May 31 and follows the 11 a.m. commemoration and presentations by veterans and local officials at Monument Park on the corner of North Lane and School Street.
A long-time resident of Glen Cove, Rocco Imerti joined the Navy in December of 1943. In 1944 he sailed out of San Diego on the USS Admiral Capps, headed for Manus in the Admiralty Island, near New Guinea. After a few days at sea, Rocco received orders to disembark at Kukum, Guadalcanal and he was assigned to the Naval Air Facility on Lunga Point. He spent eight months there repairing vehicles that had been damaged by “jungle rot,” supplying vehicles for the Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns.
After Okinawa fell, plans were commenced to invade Japan. Rocco was sent to base to await shipment north. He was eventually placed aboard LSM 118 headed for Guam inside a converted chain locker with only a small hatch to get out. After a stop at Eniwetok Atoll, the Marshall Islands, the LSMs were ordered to unload cargo on Saipan, and to sail to Samar.
He anchored between Saipan and Tinian on Aug. 2 and from there he could watch B-29s leaving Saipan and Tinian on bombing runs over Japan. On August 6th there was no activity at all. He and his group were told that a lone B-29 left Tinian at 3 a.m. and dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
The next day he was put ashore on Saipan to await shipment to Guam. While there, another B-29 left Tinian to drop an atom bomb on Nagasaki. He was flown to Guam and stationed on Orote Point to await further shipment. Meanwhile, Rocco was put to work helping to erect Quonset huts to house some of the 1,000,000 casualties expected from the attack on Japan. Both Saipan and Guam had hundreds of Japanese soldiers hiding in the jungles, so it was dangerous to be in isolated places without being armed.
On Aug. 15, Japan called for a ceasefire and all work stopped. The Battleship New Jersey was anchored in APRA Inlet and sounded general quarters as a celebration. Seven weeks later Rocco was flown to Tinian and stationed at a naval air base. After more than three months he was sent back to the U.S. on the U.S.S. New Kent. He arrived in San Francisco on Jan. 4, 1946 and left the service on Jan. 14 as a Petty Officer 2/C, Aviation Metalsmith.
Rocco Imerti received a number of commendations for his service, including the Asiatic Pacific, Victory Medal and American Theater medals in 1946. He also qualified for the Cold War, Overseas and Navy Commemorative medals.