Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-Monmouth) presented a Prisoner of War Medal to the family of deceased World War II veteran Gavino Peter Petillo on Jan 18.
The presentation took place at the Pallone’s Long Branch Office at 504 Broadway.
The Prisoner of War Medal is a military award of the U.S. Armed Forces, authorized by Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1985. The Prisoner of War Medal may be awarded to any person who was a prisoner of war after April 5, 1917.
Petillo served in the U.S. Army from Feb. 13, 1942 until Oct. 17, 1945. During the war, Petillo was captured in North Africa and was a prisoner of war in Germany for 19 months.
“Gavino Peter Petillo sacrificed so much while serving our country during World War II, and it is a pleasure to be able to recognize that bravery today,” said Pallone. “I am glad that my office secured this long-overdue Prisoner of War Medal for Mr. Petillo, and I feel privileged to present his family with this honor.”
In 2003, Petillo was awarded the following medals: Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, World War II Victory Medal, Honorable Service Lapel button and the Marksman Badge with rifle bar.
Pallone’s office worked with the U.S. Army and Petillo’s family to secure the medal that he rightly earned more than 60 years ago.
Petillo grew up in Asbury Park, and his family now resides in Long Branch. The medal can be awarded posthumously to the surviving next of kin of the recipient.
“It was an honor to be part of the ceremony today. Although I personally know the family, Carney”Gavino”, passed away long ago when I was a small boy,” Siciliano said.
The mayor continued.
“Presenting the medal along with Congressman Pallone, gave me a renewed respect for what a real life struggle is. Thinking about what Carney and other P.O.W’s must have endured, makes you realize that maybe our problems aren’t all that bad.”
“God bless our veterans and remember those who gave all they had.”