Watch CBS News
By Carolyn Gusoff
/ CBS New York
OLD BETHPAGE, N.Y. — On the eve of Veterans Day, homage was paid to World War II veterans and the iconic Sherman tanks that helped win the war.
Those tanks are now 80 years old, and the soldiers that rode them to victory are in their late 90s, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday.
They are relics and still rolling, thanks to volunteers who keep World War II history alive through the American armor that helped win our freedom.
“The noise, the mud, the thought of being inside of one of them and being attacked with guns that were more powerful than your armor could stop,” said Frank Pascale, a volunteer at the Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage.
In all, 50,000 Sherman tanks were mass produced by American car companies. Their armor wasn’t as strong as what the Nazis had, but they were light enough to ship oversees in numbers that could defeat them.
“It was designed to be maintained in the field, easily repairable. So all these things combined to kind of narrow that gap, the advantage the German armor might have had,” said Kevin Carroll of the Museum of American Armor.
But historians say the real equalizer were the brave tank crewmen.
“It brings back a lot of memories, I spent day and night,” Jim Andreadis said.
Now 96, Andreadis, of Huntington, said he remembers barreling through Germany.
“It was tough for an 18-year-old and I look back at it and I don’t know how I survived,” he said. “Hatches were closed. It was terrible, the smell of the shells.”
“I lived in that tank,” 99-year-old Julius Fiorini of West Babylon added.
Fired on every day, Fiorini was a Sherman tank commander. He said he is grateful he is still alive to honor those who didn’t come home.
“It was tough. It was really hard and he never wanted to relive it,” son Tom Fiorini said.
On Thursday, there was a tribute to their courage, and American ingenuity.
“It tipped the scales and it allowed this country to fight back the evils of Nazi Germany and defeat that scourge that was threatening our entire world,” Nassau County Legislator Arnie Drucker said.
The tanks were called the armored fist of American forces during World War II, but they were also considered a death trap, prone to fires after being struck. As a result, there were staggering losses.
Those who used the Shermans to turn the war around are called the Greatest Generation. 
Carolyn Gusoff has covered some of the most high profile news stories in the New York City area and is best known as a trusted, tenacious, consistent and caring voice of Long Island’s concerns.
First published on November 10, 2022 / 6:25 PM
© 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Shop Sephari

Leave a Reply