Former private first class Ubaldo Joseph Ciniero got the Bronze Star for his service in World War II, but the veteran didn’t get an official ceremony until recently.
Ciniero received the Bronze Star 75 years ago for his achievement in active ground combat. He was part of the 8th Armored Division during WWII. But Ciniero didn’t tell people that he’d received the honor until his son, looking up his name on the division’s website, saw that his father had gotten the Bronze Star.
“He’s always very guarded about [his military service,]” Ciniero’s son told Staff Sgt. Kimberly Hill in a military video about his father’s story. “And I think because, you know, combat was difficult for him… My dad never spoke much about the war.”
There had never been a ceremony to present Ciniero with the certificate authenticating his medal. His medal reportedly arrived in the mail. So on July 27 of this year, the military rectified that.
WWII Veteran Finally Honored With Official Ceremony
This week, Brig. Gen. Michael Leeney, deputy commanding general of operations for the 40th Infantry Division, presented Ciniero with the certificate in a ceremony at Ciniero’s house in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
According to the Daily Breeze, Leeney also pinned a new medal on Ciniero’s lapel during the ceremony. The 95-year-old veteran has Parkinson’s and now has difficulty speaking. But his family had lots to say on his behalf.
“You know what’s hard, my whole life, he’s just my dad. And I kind of today realized my dad is a hero,” Ciniero’s son said after the ceremony. “Never talks about the war. He talked about sort of the camaraderie, he talked about the Army. But we never heard about battles or engagements.”
The Bronze Star can be awarded for meritorious service, as in Ciniero’s case, or for valor in combat, in which case a “V” device is attached to the medal, per the Military Times.
Ciniero fought in the European Theater, landing in France in early 1945. His division served as reinforcements in the Battle of the Bulge. They went on to liberate a subcamp of Buchenwald, the notorious concentration camp, that April.
“In retrospect, when we look back and understand what he did when he was a young man, it’s like, wow… it sets you down for a minute,” Ciniero’s son added. “Makes you think. So, for sure. My dad is my hero.”