Joseph Vittori was born Aug. 1, 1929, in Beverly, Massachusetts. He attended high school and worked on his father’s farm until October 1946.
Vittori enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years. During this time, he trained at several installations in the U.S. The Marine Corps discharged him in 1949. After his service, Vittori returned to Beverly for one year and worked as a plasterer and bricklayer. He re-enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in September 1950.
In June 1951, he promoted to corporal and served as an automatic rifleman in Company F, Second Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division.
Vittori displayed heroism and bravery Sept. 15-16, 1951, near Songnae-dong, Korea. A forward platoon suffering heavy casualties withdrew from their position. During this time, Vittori, along with two volunteers, rushed through the withdrawing troops and came directly into the midst of the enemy. They endured fierce hand-to-hand combat. However, their actions allowed their company to consolidate their position.
Later that night, when an isolated machine gun needed a volunteer gunner, Vittori answered the call. Despite being under enemy attack, Vittori made repeated trips through heavy shelling to replenish ammunition. He refused to give ground to the enemy and was mortally wounded while maintaining defense.
Vittori’s received a Medal of Honor for his courage under fire. Vittori also received two Purple Hearts, a World War II Victory Medal, a Navy Occupation Service Medal with Europe Clasp, a Korean Service Medal with one bronze star and a United Nations Service Medal.
You can learn more about Vittori and the events of Sept. 15-16, 1951 at https://www.usmcu.edu/Research/Marine-Corps-History-Division/Information-for-Units/Medal-of-Honor-Recipients-By-Unit/Cpl-Joseph-Vittori/
We honor his service.
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