A Greatest Generation baby continues going strong.


Arthur Bronzo was a paratrooper during World War II.

photo by keith betterly

A Greatest Generation baby continues going strong.

Arthur Bronzo, one of the younger members of the Greatest Generation, can thank Lady Luck for beaming upon him during some very dangerous situations in World War II.

The Brooklyn boy from an Italian family was drafted in 1944, after his mother achieved a couple of months’ deferment for him because, as an electrician’s assistant earning 80 cents an hour at the Brooklyn shipyard, Bronzo supported his widowed mom and his younger siblings. 

Given that Uncle Sam wanted him, Bronzo opted for what he considered the best way to help and signed up to become a paratrooper. After training, the fledgling jumper was shipped overseas on the Queen Mary, at a time when the Cunard flagship had been transformed into a troop ship carrying thousands of soldiers back and forth across the Atlantic.

“I went over and came back on the Queen Mary,” said Bronzo, who lives in Melbourne. 

Turning the ripe old age of 19 while stationed in England, Bronzo was set to celebrate big time in London when marching orders for his 507 Paratrooper Regiment directed Bronzo and his fellow soldiers to join the Battle of the Bulge. He survived the fierce fighting and subsequent other perilous times, including capturing 11 German soldiers with just a buddy for backup, and immersion into icy waters when the makeshift ferry his regiment was using to cross a French river sank. Only his hand was wounded in action.

“The guy upstairs always liked me,” he said. 

Arthur Bronzo during World War II.After the war, Bronzo, like many others in the Greatest Generation, went back to business as usual, returning home in March 1946 to a job as an electrician in Brooklyn. The city was perfect for him.

“It was a cultural hodgepodge, but everybody knew everybody and got along with everybody back then,” said Bronzo, who married his Irish sweetheart, Sue. The couple have been married for 65 years and their union was blessed with four children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

However, when the New York weather finally got too bitter, Bronzo moved the family to Melbourne, where he worked on the Apollo project at Kennedy Space Center before heading to Disney World to help electrify the Polynesian and Contemporary resorts.

Long after retirement, the 90-year-old Bronzo remains the go-to guy whenever friends, family and neighbors need help with electrical issues. Bronzo took on Ascension Catholic Church, his church of 50 years, under his wing.

“I volunteered at their thrift shop six days a week until I turned 90, when I went down to three days,” he said. 

The “Guy Upstairs” remains Bronzo’s fan, helping him get over heart issues successfully. Bronzo had a stent placed three decades ago. When his legs became swollen this past year, his family encouraged him to visit Health First cardiologist Dr. Jim Ronaldson. He discovered Bronzo’s aortic valve, which should have opened to the size of a quarter but was only opening to the size of a dime. He was referred to Dr. Cesar Jara and
Dr. Matthew Campbell, who scheduled him for a transcatheter aortic valve replacement or TAVR. Bronzo is one of the few patients in Brevard to undergo this minimally invasive procedure designed for patients at very high risk from traditional open-heart aortic-valve replacement. 

After a two-day hospital stay and a few weeks rest from his surgery, Bronzo is again back to volunteering and showing the rest of us just how great the Greatest Generation can be.