World War II veteran receives Legion of Honor

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Ocean City Council presents Caserta with proclamation

OCEAN CITY — Before receiving France’s highest honor on Friday, Nov. 8, retired US Army Sgt. Joseph Caserta was honored by his hometown Thursday, Nov. 7 before City Council.

Council presented Caserta with a resolution recognizing him for receiving the Republic of France’s Legion of Honor for his efforts during the liberation of France in World War II.

Joe Caserta shakes the hand of Councilman Keith Hartzell after Hartzell read a proclamation honoring Caserta for his service during World War II. Joe Caserta shakes the hand of Councilman Keith Hartzell after Hartzell read a proclamation honoring Caserta for his service during World War II.

“I’m humbled with this honor,” Caserta said. “I’m accepting this for my tent, crew, E Company 32nd Armor Regiment and all the fella’s that we lost and were killed in our outfit. I’m accepting this in their honor.”

“Thank you everybody for what you’ve done for me,” he said.

According to the resolution, Caserta fought on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France and the Battle of the Bulge. His tank was driving a record of 101 miles through northern France, where they encountered heavy German resistance and were then redirected into Belgium and the Battle of the Bulge.

While at the Cologne Plain, they were hit hard by German artillery. His tank caught fire and his commander was killed. While the tank was on fire, Caserta rescued a crew member and, as a result of his action, was awarded the Bronze Star.

Caserta, fearing another round of attacks to the tank, hid himself and his men behind a pile of potatoes when, just at that moment, another shell hit, killing one of his friends and wounding his gunner and himself with shrapnel, for which he received the Purple Heart. He and his gunner were able to get to the rear of the battle where they received aid for their wounds. Caserta was promoted to tank commander, reassigned to another tank and fought the remainder of the war.

Council members applauded Caserta’s efforts, as did his neighbors and the many Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion members who came out to support him Thursday evening.

Caserta will be the honored guest at the American Legion open house 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, 3304 Bay Ave. RSVP to 609-398-1751.

He will also be honored during the city’s annual Veterans Day ceremony 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11 at Veterans Memorial Park, Fifth Street and Wesley Ave.


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