The fourth of July was cause for extra celebration for one veteran in west Alabama.
Sergeant Eli Nicosia was awarded a medal for his service during the Battle of Saipan in WWII.
Saipan is part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. U.S. soldiers fought there from June 15th-July 9th in 1944.
Ninety-four year old Eli Nicosia believes he deserves the medal he was awarded. The former army sergeant was a scout for the 105th Infantry Regiment. And he remembers the Battle of Saipan vividly.
"About 10 o'clock at night we got a heavy rainfall and that's when things happened. They kept coming, coming, coming and all I did was just point a bullet, pull a gun and man beside me pointed a gun and we shot. We didn't have to aim. We were shooting into the dark," Nicosia said.
But, Eli Nicosia didn't apply for the medal; he said he didn't even know one, for the battle, existed until about 3 years ago. A past commander of VFW post 6022 made sure that the medal ceremony happened. In fact he actually applied for the medal for the veteran.
Walter Turner said a friend told him about the medal for the Battle of Saipan and he sent a book detailing Nicosia's account of what happened.
Turner added, "I made a promise to 'Nic' that I would get him this award. And I went through with that promise to him, it took me a while, but I got it. It just makes me feel good to recognize him and recognize the sacrifices and the trials and tribulations that he went through during that battle."
While Eli Nicosia is thankful for the medal he received, he said he hasn't forgotten the 14,000 U.S. military members who didn't make it out of the battle he fought in, 69 years ago.
Nicosia said the medal he received on July 4th is the ninth or tenth he's received for his time in the Army.
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