In August at the monthly American Legion meeting Andrew J. Gero, another member of the “Greatest Generation” was recognized with the presentation of a copy of the posting on the Registrary Of Remembrance on the National World War II Memorial website. The presentation was made by American Legion Post Commander Gerry Collins.
In December 1946, at the age of 17, Gero met with an Army recruiter in Norwich, Connecticut to enlist in the Regular Army. He was advised to return on his 18th birthday in February so he could enlist without having to have parental consent. He requested that his enlistment should allow him to enter the medical branch. In February 1947, he started his basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Upon completion of his training he was assigned to Brooke’s Army Medical School at Fort Sam Houston, Texas to train as a laboratory technician. He was subsequently assigned to the 26th Station Hospital at Schofield Barracks on Oahu, Hawaii as a laboratory technician. He was then assigned to the dispensary at Fort DeRussy, Hawaii. Later he was transferred back to Schofield Barracks with the 5th Regimental Combat Team as a laboratory technician where he remained until the end of the war. He was awarded the WWII Victory Medal and Expert Marksmanship Medal with the M1 rifle. In December 1949 he was honorably discharged at Camp Stoneman, California.
But his service to the country did not end there. In January 1950 Gero enlisted in the U.S. Army Inactive Reserves. In June 1950, the Korean Conflict started and he was called back to active duty. He went through a basic refresher course at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Because of his specialty as a medical technologist he was transferred to the 406 Medical General Laboratory in Tokyo and within days was reassigned to the 8090 Blood Bank.
The need for blood in Korea was tremendous necessitating establishing blood banks in Korea. A considerable supply of blood was coming from the U.S., which created a problem because of the short life of whole blood. It was necessary to collect blood from whoever would donate. Later, Gero was sent to the 161st Station Hospital in Sapporo, Japan. Primarily, the staff provided hospital care to the seriously injured. At that time, services members were on a point system for overseas duty. Gero exceeded the allotted time for oversea service and was assigned back to the States.
In 1954, Gero made a decision to make a career of the military and re-enlisted in the US Air Force as a medical technologist. He spent two years at Sampson Air Force Base near Geneva, New York. He was then transferred to Mitchell Air Force Base near New York City and assigned as the non-commissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of an Armed Forces Examination Station in New Haven, Connecticut. After four years in the Air Force he was offered a job in the private sector as a laboratory technician. He decided to end his military career with over nine years of active duty.
Photography was always a serious hobby for Gero, so he decided to acquire formal education in photography. Back in the early 1960s, he was approached by L.A. County and the USC School of Medicine and asked if he had a formal background in medicine and photography. It seemed there was a position that was vacant for two years because no one could be found who met the minimum requirements as a medical photographer. Gero took the job and after two years was promoted to a supervisor. Four years later he was promoted to director of Medical Photography for the County of Los Angeles and the USC School of Medicine.
In 1992 Gero retired from Los Angeles County with 29 years of service.