A third-generation resident of Hampton Bays, Michael L. Zarro was born in 1926 in Southampton Hospital to Amato A. Zarro and Carmela E. Biancaniello. He was one of only 15 students to graduate in 1943 from Good Ground School, now the Hampton Bays High School.
He was drafted into the Army in 1944 when he was 18. His boot camp training was cut short by a few weeks when he was sent, along with a wave of American soldiers, to replace those who died during the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944 and early 1945, one of the deadliest battles of World War II. He was sent to Germany in 1945 and assigned to the Army’s 30th Infantry Division.
He remained in Europe until August 1945, when he returned to the United States to prepare for deployment to Japan. He was on a ship headed there when the U.S. dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, drawing the war to a close. He returned home and was honorably discharged in August 1946.
Michael earned the Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Belgian Fourragère, the Honorable Service Lapel Button and the Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar.
Michael was a member of the Hand-Aldrich American Legion Post 924 in Hampton Bays, spoke often about his war experiences, sharing all kinds of stories about combat and the Allied occupation of war-torn Germany after the war. Michael was also a member of a group of Hampton Bays veterans who met monthly to share breakfast and swap stories of their service.