Ernest P. Sylvina was born on September 6, 1915 to Agustino and Lucy Sylvina of West Grove, Pennsylvania. Ernest was the oldest of five children.
Ernest attended Avon Grove High School where he hit homeruns and stole bases for the baseball team. All the boys in his family had a love for baseball. He attended St. Mary's Church in West Grove.
After graduating high school, Ernest moved to New York City and took a job as a waiter at Knickerbocker's Restaurant.
In 1940, Ernest enlisted into the United States Army where he proudly served our country during World War II. Ernest’s training earned him the rank of technical sergeant. He went on to serve in the Sicilian and African campaigns and also served in Italy, England, and Germany.