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This Is Why We Stand: Joseph Vittori


Every man who has been issued the Medal of Honor is bound by a belief. There is an immeasurable strength found in these men and it all stems from their commitment to duty. Corporal Joseph Vittori fulfilled his commitment to his country and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Vittori embodied the creed of the United States Marine Corps in every way. During an assault on Hill 749 during the Korean War, he volunteered to defend a machine gun position on the Northern part of the American line. His position was almost entirely isolated from the rest of his unit. During the battle, a 100-yard breach was made in the American Line. Vittori ran from flank to flank, firing on the rapidly advancing enemy. In the pitch black of night, Vittori held off the enemy and manned the machine gun alone after the gunner had been killed. The enemy got to within 15 feet of Vittori’s position, which he held until being mortally wounded.

When Vittori was found the next morning, there were over 200 dead enemy bodies around his position. He prevented the entire American battalion’s position from collapsing. Joseph Vittori’s Medal of Honor was presented to his parents in 1952. Strength and honor are not words that should ever be taken lightly. Joseph Vittori lived and died by those words.

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