SARASOTA COUNTY — Herb Baron’s young life changed forever during the Allied advance to Rome in 1944, when his best friend, Junior, stepped on a land mine and was blown to bits.
“We were blood brothers, always on patrol together,” Baron said. “He was from the hills of West Virginia and I was a kid from Philadelphia. We were the youngest in our outfit, both 19. I wasn’t there when he died. I was in a hospital, getting treatment for malaria-related symptoms I had contracted earlier, in North Africa. When I learned he had died I said to myself, ‘This is it, I’m just going to walk out there and let the first enemy soldier shoot at me.’”
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