LYNDHURST, N.J. — Seventy years after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, World War II veteran Vincenzo Geramita of Lyndhurst received a Bronze Star Medal at the current 94th Division at Fort Dix.
Incomplete paperwork was to blame, said his son, Frank Geramita.
But his 93-year-old dad didn't seem to mind.
“That was one of the greatest moments of my life," he said after receiving his medal on Sept. 12, "because it felt so good that somebody finally noticed what we did.”
The Bronze Star is awarded to U.S. Army service men or women who distinguished themselves after 1941 by "heroic or combat heroism or meritorious service, not involving aerial flight in connection with operations against an opposing armed force," the American War Library says.
Vincenzo Geramita enlisted in the Army in Kansas in 1942 before being transferred to Fort Dix by rail for deployment to England.
Some of Geramita’s accomplishments include engaging in hand-to-hand combat the morning after arriving in France and defeating the Germans again during the Storming of the Siegfried Line.
“It’s hard to think about it — all of this stuff happened 70 years ago,” he said. “The biggest story was the Battle of the Bulge, just around Christmastime .”
Geramita and his battalion were hit with German Tiger Tanks, one of the most dreaded tanks in Hitler’s arsenal.
“They ordered us to open the hatches and they told us to run like hell," said Geramita, who suffered several concussions causing him to bleed from his ears and nose. "And that's what we did."
Never one to quit, the veteran worked three jobs to support his wife and children.
“I feel grateful there was a major in the Army that found the discrepancy and took care of it,” Frank Geramita said. "It made him feel as if he were finally recognized for what he did in the war."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.