Nation's oldest Marine celebrates 105th birthday

DARBY, Pa. - November 30, 2011

His birthday is actually November 25, 1906, but Wednesday was a special birthday celebration for the nation's oldest Marine.

Al DeSerio or "Sarge" to his fellow devil dogs and those here at the St. Francis Country House, where he lives, was feted Wednesday by a delegation of active duty Marines from the Upper Darby Detachment Marine Corp league.

Sarge was a member of the U.S. Marine Corp for 42 years, on active duty in the Korean War, and completing two tours of duty in Vietnam.

He told me his proudest time was serving as an escort for the war dead in World War II.

"When anybody was killed in World War II, I would escort them to their homes," Sarge said. "It was the best job I ever had. I was proud to do it."

He says he is also proud of his 8 stars for good conduct, and one of the best days for the Marines, he says, was when women enlisted.

"It was good to have them," said Sarge. "They were replacing the men in 1942, and they brought the black Marines in 1942.

Sarge retired from military duty in 1970 and worked at Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital until 1988.

He credits his longevity to lots of exercise.

Those who love him the most are the residents here at St. Francis Country House.

His best friend, the oldest fireman at Darby Fire Company Number 1, who says he's always in a good mood.

"He's a great guy, always laughing," said Knobby. "You can't make Sarge mad."

"I feel very good," said Sarge. "I feel like I'm sitting on top of the world."

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