Postage Stamp for Oldest Medal of Honor Recipient, NJ Native

By Wire Reports and NBC10.com Staff
|  Monday, Nov 11, 2013  |  Updated 7:18 AM EDT
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PS 14 in his hometown of <a title=Bayonne became "Nicholas Oresko Elementary School" in honor of the heroism Oresko showed during WWII's Battle of the Bulge." />

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PS 14 in his hometown of Bayonne became "Nicholas Oresko Elementary School" in honor of the heroism Oresko showed during WWII's Battle of the Bulge.

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A New Jersey soldier who had been the nation's oldest living recipient of the Medal of Honor before his death last month is being honored with a U.S. postage stamp.

Nicholas Oresko is featured in the new World War II Medal of Honor Forever stamp Prestige Folio being issued on Monday.

Oresko died at age 96 on Oct. 4. The Bayonne native, who lived in Cresskill, was deployed in Europe during World War II. The Army master sergeant was badly wounded as he single-handedly took out two enemy bunkers during the Battle of the Bulge in 1945. 

Oresko became the nation's oldest living Medal of Honor recipient in 2011.

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The United States Postal Service is holding a ceremony in Paterson on Monday to preview the folio and honor veterans.

Oresko was an Army master sergeant who was badly wounded as he single-handedly took out two enemy bunkers during the Battle of the Bulge in 1945.

A November 2011 article on the Department of Defense website described Oresko as the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient. The medal is the nation's highest military honor, awarded by Congress for risk of life in combat beyond the call of duty.

A Bayonne native, Oresko received the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman on Oct. 30, 1945.

At 28, Oresko was the platoon leader when automatic fire pinned down his unit. Realizing a machine gun in a nearby bunker needed to be eliminated, Oresko moved out alone in the morning darkness, braving bullets that zipped about him, until he was close enough to throw a grenade into the German bunker. He rushed the bunker and used his M-1 rifle to kill the soldiers who survived the grenade blast.

Then another machine gun fired, knocking Oresko down and wounding him in the right hip and leg. He managed to crawl to another bunker and take it out with another grenade. Despite being weak from loss of blood, Oresko refused to be evacuated until he was assured that the mission was accomplished.

His actions on Jan. 23, 1945, were credited with preventing numerous American casualties and were praised as key to the Allies' victory.

Flags flew at half-staff in the Garden State in the days after OResko's death. 

 


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