Vinnie’s 90th Birthday Surprise … 69-years in the making.


Vinnie Unger

WWII Medal-recipient Vinnie Unger

Something very special happened on Vincent Unger’s 90th birthday celebration. It was something 69-years in the making.

Vinnie served in World War II starting at the age of 17. Yes, he received his mother’s permission (A MUST for his age back in the day).

Vinnie joined the Navy’s Amphibious Forces at the tender age of 17 (February 6, 1943) and served until he was 21. He was involved in the Landing on D-Day landing at Utah Beach with the 350 Infantry 4th Division.

The Amphibious Forces were new to the Navy in 1943, and did not maintain all the records necessary for medal recognition. Vinnie was left without any service medals due to these errors in record keeping.

Of course, Vinnie was one to never complain. But, it was Vinnie’s reluctance to talk with a friend about his war record that indicated something was missing from Vinnie’s military career.

Vinnie has accomplished many things in his life including raising a family, caring for his then-ill wife until her passing, and being involved in several ministries at Holy Family Catholic Church. Vinnie is one of the founding members of the Men of Holy Family and also helped St. Vincent DePaul get established at Holy Family.

In 69-years of living beyond his military service, Vinnie never mentioned the absence of his service medals.

However, Vinnie’s friend with the help of Congressman Daniel Webster, and with copies of Vinnie’s DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and the DD Form 215 to denote all of Vinnie’s military awards, urged the Navy to do some records review on Vinnie’s behalf.

Vinnie Unger’s Official Military Personnel File revealed his entitlement to:

  • Navy Good Conduct Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • American Campaign Medal
  • European-African-Middle-Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Star appurtenances
  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Navy Discharge Button
  • Honorable Service Lapel Pin (Ruptured Duck)

Vinnie received the medals and ribbons as part of his 90th birthday celebration due to the diligence of his friend and fellow church-ministry member, Gary Badamo. Gary was instrumental in contacting Congressman Webster’s office to get some help inquiring with the Navy and Department of Defense to review their records.

Gary pushed to have all the medals and ribbons in a timely fashion in time to celebrate the milestone birthday with Vinnie’s family and friends. Vinnie turned 90-years young on August 18, 2015.

Congratulations, Vinnie!

Thank you for your service, and may God continue to bless you.

Marine Presentation to Vinnie Unger

Marine presentation to Vinnie

Medals placed on Vinnie's breast

Medals placed on Vinnie’s breast

Vinnie gets his war medals

Vinnie receives his war medals