This week marks the anniversary of the Battle of Midway, which was the turning point of World War II in the Pacific theater. One of Richmond’s earliest casualties in the war was lost on the last day of this historic battle.
Raymond Salzarulo was an Army Air Corps Captain stationed at Hickam Field in Hawaii when the Japanese attacked in December 1941. Six months later, on June 7, 1942, he was in a B-24 with General Clarence Tinker, who was leading a flight of Army bombers against the Japanese fleet. Their aircraft left Midway Island to attack the fleet east of Wake Island. Other pilots in the attack group reported that their plane was last seen diving into the sea.
The Salzarulo family had six sons, and all served as commissioned officers in the military during the war. Raymond was the only one killed, but Robert, another Army pilot, was shot down over Germany and taken prisoner.
The Salzarulo patriarch, Louis, had arrived in 1904 from a small village in Italy, worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad for 44 years, and served on Richmond’s Common Council. In 1953, he returned to his native village, Bisaccia, to dedicate a bell in the small church. The bell was dedicated to Major Raymond Salzarulo.
Tragically, Raymond’s son, who was born 3 months after his death, followed in his father’s footsteps. Raymond Jr. graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1964, and was killed in Vietnam in 1966 when his plane was shot down.