Rocco “Rocky” J. Moretto was born on June 20, 1924 in New York City. He grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York, where he played baseball and boxed in his spare time. He was drafted into the Army when he was 17.
“Soon after Pearl Harbor, which happened when I was age 17, they lowered the draft age,” said Moretto. “I was in the first group of 18-year-olds to be drafted, on Feb. 12, 1943. The induction center was Fort Dix, N.J. I went to Camp Wheeler, Ga., for 13 weeks basic training.” After Georgia, Rocco went to Texas and then England for extensive training for his first mission – the invasion of Normandy (New York Daily News, 2011).
Moretto arrived in Liverpool, England, in November 1943 and joined the 1st Infantry Division as a replacement. “It was widely known that we were preparing for an invasion of Europe,” he said, “but no one knew where the invasion would take place. I made private first class a week or two before the invasion.” (Defense Media Network, 2010)