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Veteran's Spotlight: Air Force Repairman Mario Dell’aera

U.S. Air Force Veteran Mario Dell’aera, 80, of Levittown said he first volunteered for service in 1952, during the Korean War.

 

“They called volunteers ‘regulars,’” he said, reflecting back to when he first enlisted.

 

From 1952-1956, Dell’era called the Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nev. home. The base, he said, operated 24 hours, 7 days a week, training pilots to fly overseas into Korea.

 

He said that the training that would normally take 14 weeks was curbed to an 8-week crash course in order to prepare for battle. 

 

To have completed the training would be required to take a final exam every night when they lowered the flag at sundown.

 

“In order to graduate, a pilot would have to break the sound barrier,” Dell’aera said without reservation. 

 

During his time in the Air Force, Dell’aera worked on several planes including the T-33 airplane, which the government had stolen from the Russians. Of all the aircraft he worked on, he said, his favorite was the F-86.

 

“If we didn’t have that we wouldn’t have won the war,” he said.

 

Dell’aera said he also remembers watching the U.S. Military testing of the atomic bomb out in the desert. 

 

“We’d sit on top of the barracks,” he said, adding that people sat and watched from the Las Vegas strip.

 

Dell’aera continued in aeronautics after the war, getting a job with Air Research, a firm which he worked for 53 years as a project coordinator. Six years ago, when he retired, Dell’aera recieved the Charles Taylor award-named after the Wright Brothers’ mechanic-his name was also put on record with the FAA in Washington D.C. 

 

On Dec. 3, 1963, Dell’Aera left his home in the Bronx, headed for Levittown, where he raised four kids with his wife, who recently passed.

 

Dell’Aera recalls seeing farms all along Hempstead Turnpike. 

 

Back when William Levitt first constructed the more than 17,000 houses for GI’s returning from World War II, he had no idea the population boom that would follow. 

 

“Now, [with the population larger] it’s hard to find an original Levitt home,” Dell’aera said.

 

Today, ‘Red’ said, he keeps busy doing pro bono work for senior citizens as well as interior maintenance for the American Legion Post #1711, where he has been a member for 18 years. Of all his work with the Legion, Dell’aera said he enjoys the flag etiquette program and assembling the 110 flags for Memorial Day.

News

The smell of pine, wood and scented candles greet customers with a sense of home as they cross the wooden threshold to the Amish Craft Barn in Seaford. There they will find dolls, birdhouses, quilts, ceramic turkeys, hand-painted Christmas trees, oak furniture and other seasonal and holiday tchotchkes.

 

Massapequa natives Frank and Pam Hoerauf started The Amish Craft Barn & Gift Shoppe 20 years ago after an inspiring visit to Pennsylvania.

Holidays increase daily congestion 

While parking around LIRR train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town. 

 

“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”


Sports

The Island Trees Cross Country teams continue their improvement in 2014. This year the girls’ team has a record of 8-2 and with their victories over Clarke and Wheatley High Schools, they clinched the Division Championship for the first time in Island Trees High School history.

 

The girls are led by senior Captain Angela Brocco who has been rewriting the girl’s record boards. Brocco set the school record for the Warwick Valley 5000 meter course on Sept. 20. 

This season the Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team at Division Avenue has the rare ability to fill every position on the field with a member of the senior class. All 11 seniors have made contributions to the success of this year’s squad.


Calendar

Turkey Cookie - November 21

Lost Nights - November 22

Town of Hempstead Meeting - November 25


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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