By Dick Brennan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Pearl Harbor survivor and local hero Armando “Chick” Galella has died after being hospitalized for COVID.

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reports, there is one less hero in our midst, one less member of the greatest generation.

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The Sleepy Hollow native survived Pearl Harbor and Okinawa and lived 100 years and nine months, but he lost his final battle to COVID.

“There’s some insidious irony to this that I can’t, I’m still trying to comprehend it,” said Galella’s son, Armando Galella Jr.

He feels the sorrow, but also the pride of how his dad lived by his mantra.

“The three principles that drove him — God, family, country — constantly,” Galella said.

He was a man who fought to save that country and who earned a wall full of medals, including a Bronze Star.

But he carried himself the humble man and never the hero.

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“He despised being called a hero. He saw heroes. He saw heroes die, and he would say that the heroes were buried and flags cover the graves of heroes,” Galella said.

He was always on the move. CBS2 caught up with him in August when he took joy ride in a biplane at Westchester County Airport, just like the old days in the air corps. He had a boundless energy that never let up.

“There’s an old joke that when someone lives to 100, you say, ‘I want what he’s drinking.’ What was he drinking?” Brennan asked.

“I’ll show you what he was drinking. Jug wine. Every day. Two to three glasses,” Galella said.

Through the years, Galella managed to make it through illnesses and accidents, and even at age 96, he made the front page of The Wall Street Journal.

It was a tough youth that brought out the best America had to offer.

“These were depression-era boys. They were forged like steel in that time of sacrifice and that forging brought them to victory,” Galella said.

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Armando Galella leaves a legacy of patriotism and devotion to family. An American life, well-lived.

Dick Brennan