WWI soldier, at 110, among last survivors of an era

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A cane rested in his lap and a baseball cap cast a shadow over a frown as World War I veteran Antonio Pierro recalled American artillery blasting away in the forest and enemy shells screaming overhead.

``During the war everything was action," said Pierro, 110 years old, who lives in Swampscott with his brother and a nephew. ``You're at the front line, you duck the shells coming your way. It was no fun being out at the front lines, being shot at. You gotta duck."

A US Army private in the 320th Field Artillery Regiment of the 82d Division in France in 1918, Pierro is one of about two dozen still living of the 4.8 million who served in the US military during World War I, and one of a handful of living US veterans who survived the battlefields of the Western Front.

Two other World War I veterans living in New England, Russell Buchanan of Watertown and Samuel Goldberg of Greenville, R.I., both 106 years old, served in the United States during the war. Buchanan also is a veteran of World War II.

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