The World War II veteran believed to be the United States' oldest living Marine died Saturday at the age of 105, according to the Delaware County Daily Times. Alfred L. DeSerio, a 42-year veteran of the Marines who eventually earned the rank of Master Sergeant, also served in the Korea and Vietnam Wars. He retired from the military in 1970.
DeSerio grew up in Philadelphia. He lied about being 18 so he could join the Marines a year early, according to the Daily Times. During WWII, it was DeSerio's job to escort the bodies of fallen Marines back home to their families. DeSerio described what that was like to the Daily Times in November 2011:
“I was proud to do it. After the funeral, you’d take the flag off the coffin and fold it up. The hardest thing to do was present the flag to the mother.”
DeSario's wife Mary preceded him in death in 1985. The couple had no children.
To get a sense of what DeSario - known as "Sarge" to his friends - was like, watch this video by Philadelphia TV station WPVI, shot during DeSario's 105th birthday celebration back in November 2011: