GUARINO Colonel LAWRENCE N. GUARINO "Larry" (Age 92) Passed away peacefully on August 18, 2014. Larry was born April 16, 1922 in Newark, New Jersey. Growing up his boyhood hero was Charles Lindbergh because of his heroic, solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Young Larry always dreamed of becoming a flyer, like his hero, and his father fueled his dream by scraping together 5 dollars to take him on a flight around the local airport in an old Jenny. In high school, he was quarterback of his team and later played in a semi-pro league. His life-long love of fishing also began at an early age, and was passed on to his sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren. But the real love of his life was Evelyn, who he met at a church dance and was married to for more than 71 years. Larry received his wings and commission in the U.S Air Force in 1943. During WWII, he saw service in North Africa, Italy and China. He was recalled again for the Korean War. He was later assigned to the Philippines, Japan, and Okinawa. Major Guarino was flying combat missions in Southeast Asia in early 1965 when he was shot down and forced to eject over North Vietnam. He was captured and taken as prisoner of war, spending the next 2,801 days in captivity. Colonel Guarino was released on February 12, 1973. He was awarded the nation's second highest award, the Air Force Cross, also the Distinguished Service Medal, two Silver Stars, a Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Purple Hearts, and more than 50 service medals. Larry later authored A P.O.W.'s STORY: 2801 DAYS IN HANOI about his experience. After 33 years of service to our country, Colonel Guarino retired to Satellite Beach, then Indian Harbour Beach and Melbourne, Florida. He enjoyed many years making up for lost time with Evelyn, their four sons, Allan, Thomas, Raymond and Jeffery, and their wives Maureen, Jan, Carolyn and Mary. He was a loving grandfather of eight, with six wonderful great-grandchildren. He lived out another dream of owning and running charter sport fishing boats, engaged in local real estate development, excelled at fly fishing, golf and bridge. Larry remained very involved in the community, gave dozens of speeches and interviews, and supported organizations such as The Wounded Warrior Project. Larry was a most memorable personality, who contributed much to the lives he touched. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends, and his life will remain an inspiration for generations to come. There will be a celebration of his life at 2 p.m. on Saturday August 23 at Florida Memorial Gardens and The Life Event Center in Rockledge, Fl. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project in his name. www.woundedwarriorproject.org/Donate
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Published in The Washington Post on Aug. 21, 2014