Honoring our Veterans (including Joseph A. Saluzzi)
Today U.S. citizens celebrate Veteran’s Day, just days after one of the most divisive and emotional presidential election cycles in history. It is appropriate that we all take a little time to honor our country’s great heroes – the brave men and women of the United States military who served in our armed forces, no matter their own political persuasions, ethnicities, and beliefs – so that we may all enjoy this nation’s freedoms.
Today, we share the story of one United States Marine who served in the Korean War – Joseph A. Saluzzi. He is the father of Themis’s own Joe Saluzzi, and he passed away just over 8 years ago.
The saying, “Once a Marine, always a Marine” certainly held true for Joe’s dad. After his active duty service, he stayed very involved with the Marines and wrote a book titled Red Blood, Purple Hearts, where he gave recognition to many Marines who fought so valiantly in the Korean War.
The following excerpt is from his book:
“On the morning of September 26, 1950, Dog Company, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, entered Seoul from the northwest. Passing Hoengjeoe-ri and approaching the Sodaemun Prison, the company came under fire from four directions, wounding the company commander, Captain Richard Breen and the machine gun platoon leader, 1st Lt. William Goggin. A machine gun section, headed by Staff Sgt. John O’Neill, was rushed forward to assist in the assault on the prison grounds. Enemy fire became extremely heavy, coming from the slopes of Hill 296 and Hill 338. Moving his section through the streets, Sgt. O’Neill was killed. Enemy snipers picked off gunner Pfc. Vernon Midkiff and assistant gunner Pfc. Joseph A. Saluzzi. Both lay painfully wounded, unable to get assistance and first aid. The North Koreans knew these two Marines were still alive and just waited for Marines to come to their rescue so they could also pick them off. In a few hours, Cpl. Francis Brennan and Sgt Monteleone rushed through heavy fire and evacuated Midkiff. No further trips could be made since the company had to pull back and form a defensive perimeter. Saluzzi was now alone. He cradled the machine gun with his left arm and held a pistol in his right hand, praying for a miracle, since the wounds he received made it impossible to move without passing out. Miraculously surviving artillery fire and roaming North Koreans throughout the night, he was evacuated by four South Korean boys the following morning, still holding on to the machine gun.”
The story of Joseph A. Saluzzi is just one of many heroic stories from the Korean War.
Remember our brave heroes today. Honor all armed forces veterans, and the sacrifices they make (made) so that we may today live as free men and women. Semper Fi, Mr. Saluzzi. Rest knowing a nation honors your sacrifices and service.