Frank Naro was an American fighter pilot in World War II who when his jet was shot down by enemy fire, he escaped capture by the Nazis, and then snuck into Egypt until he could reunite with his family in the Bronx, who presumed he was killed in the line of duty.
And now he's in the Hall of Fame.
Rockville Centre resident Sergeant Frank S. Naro was recently inducted into the New York State Senate’s Veterans Hall of Fame. Sergeant Naro was honored with other veterans from across the state at a recent ceremony at the New York State Capitol.
The New York State Senate Veterans' Hall of Fame was created to honor and recognize outstanding veterans from the Empire State who have distinguished themselves both in military and civilian life.
Naro is a decorated Air Force Veteran whose story is an inspiring tale of bravery and devotion.
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During World War II, Naro, a gunner in the ball turret of a B-17 Bomber, was shot down by German fighters. After ejecting from his plane, Naro was struck in the head by an ammunition box, and because of a late opening parachute, he miraculously escaped. He was the only non-captured survivor of this enemy attack on the B-17 in the 96th Bomb Squadron 2nd Bomb group.
Once on the ground, Naro could hear enemy combatants converging on his location and fled to a nearby farm where he was taken in by the Greek Underground and hidden from German soldiers. Sergeant Naro’s family back home in the Bronx received word through a telegram that he was Missing In Action, and ultimately believed that he was killed.
After two months he obtained a fake passport, and along with fifteen others, boarded a Greek fishing vessel to flee to safety in Egypt. Sergeant Naro and the others were hidden in the recess of the vessel, buried under layers of fish and successfully maintained cover even fooling the German soldiers who had boarded to inspect the cargo.
Upon arriving in Cairo, Sergeant Naro was given a new lease on life. He coordinated his travel back home to the United States and was later reunited with his family in an emotional homecoming.
Naro has been awarded with numerous citations and awards having received the World War II Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Honorable Service Lapel for World War II and the Marksman Badge with Pistol Bar.
"Sergeant Naro is a true symbol of patriotism and whose story not only demonstrates bravery, but honor during his time fighting in World War II," said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. "He truly portrays the qualities which the Veterans’ Hall of Fame was intended to tribute and I thank him for all that he’s done for our country.”
Naro currently resides in Rockville Centre with his wife of 63 years, Lena, and has one daughter Joan and granddaughter Genie who reside in South Hempstead.
To view the New York State Senate’s Veterans Hall of Fame, click here.