Salvatore Scarpace has been an integral part of the Allen Park community for over fifty years. He has served as the Commander of Allen Park Post 409. He has supported sponsored youth baseball for many years. Scarpace is a World War II veteran who was interviewed for the Veterans History project on March 8, 2006 at the Allen Post hall.
Scarpace was working in his family business when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor
in 1942. He was drafted in February of 1942 and trained before being sent to Australia.
He recalled his duties on the battlefield in his tenure in Australia and throughout the
Pacific Islands. One memory that stood out was when he actually felt the "whiz" of a
shell go beside his head. Scarpace credits his good fortune to a lucky charm that he
always had with him. He recalls VE day and remembers that those in the Pacific Islands
believed, at the time, that the end of the war was near. He wasn't so sure in 1945
when his regiment was about ready to Invade the Island of Japan. Just prior to the attack,
about a week he recalls, the United States unleashed the Enola Gay on Hiroshima. The
signing of the peace treaty aboard the USS Missouri brought great relief and cheer for
everyone, especially his regiment, who was about to invade Japan. Scarpace noted that
he, and his fellow soldiers, realized that a mainland attack would have been extremely
dangerous. The partying within his ranks was fierce after the signing.
Upon returning home, Scarpace's family business wasn't doing well so he had to find
another line of work. He soon married and would join the local American Legion. He
tried to remain in contact with some of his wartime friends but as time went on that
become harder and harder. He doesn't recall holding any racist attitudes toward Germans. It was just their job. He said that there wasn't much of a chance to exhibit racism, not at
least in this area, toward Japanese people since very few were in the general area. Each
year he attends a reunion of World War II soldiers. He says that it is something that he
appreciates more and more every year. Unfortunately, each year the turnout is smaller
and smaller due to illness or death.
Scarpace believes wholeheartedly in supporting past soldiers of past and present wars. To him, it is a question of doing your duty. He doesn't know if he agrees or not with the reasons for the current war or Vietnam but a soldier's job is to free
people of terror. His advice to the youth of today is to appreciate the freedoms that they
have, and to appreciate those who fought to give them their freedom. He believes that
young people now do not realize the sacrifice made by those in previous generations.
At 88 years old, he continues to serve his American Legion Post and his community in a
variety of fundraisers and youth activities. He is truly an American hero for all that he
has done in his lifetime for the people of the United States