How ‘The Fighting Santoros’ Came to Symbolize Italian American Patriotism


Eight brothers from the same New England family served in the military during World War II, and they all made it home.

1.5 million Italian Americans served in the armed forces during World War II, amounting to some 10% of American soldiers in all.

This is where the Santoro Family comes in.

in an extraordinary act of patriotism, eight Italian American brothers enlisted after Pearl Harbor and fought for our country, with seven of them serving overseas at once.

They were known in their small New England town as “The Fighting Santoros,” and the name fit well—the family holds a spot in the record books for having one of the highest number of siblings who served in war at the same time.

Ten brothers and seven sisters, the children of Eugene and Concetta Santoro, grew up on Wheeler Street in South Medford, most of them born just after the turn of the 20th century.

The Fighting Santoro brothers included Jim, Joe, Leo, Paul, John, Tom, Harry and Charlie.

Despite Paul getting hit by a grenade while helping a fellow soldier to safety, they all made it back alive; and 74 years later, Charlie is the only surviving sibling at 94 years old.

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Charlie Santoro sits at a .50 caliber gun in 1945 in the Pacific theater.

 

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