Joseph J. Cicchetti of Waynesburg, Ohio, served with the U.S. Army company A, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division during World War II. He served in South Manilla, Luzon and the Philippine Islands.
On Dec. 8, 1945, he was with troops who were attacking the enemy's first line of defense on Manila. The Japanese had converted the partially destroyed huge fuel depots and adjacent buildings into a strongpoint equipped with machine guns, mortars and heavy artillery fire that was concentrated squarely on our attacking troops.
Casualties mounted quickly and the medics were forced to ask for additional assistance to evacuate the wounded. PFC Cicchetti quickly responded and organized a "litter team" and skillfully led it for more than four hours in rescuing 14 wounded men. He and his "litter team" constantly passed back and forth over an open field of fire 400 yards in length under intense fire to accomplish the rescues.
On one return trip, the path was completely blocked by machine gun fire, but PFC Cicchetti drew attention to himself, drawing fire and returning fire with his own rifle. As he drew the fire on himself, he ordered the rest of his team to rush past to safety with the wounded.
While gallantry continuing his work, he noticed a group of wounded soldiers some distance away. He ran through increased enemy fire to rescue them. As he approached the wounded, he was struck in the head by a shell fragment, but with complete disregard for his gaping wound, he continued to help his comrades. He carried one soldier 50 yards to safety before he collapsed and died.
He was given the Medal of Honor posthumously for his leadership, indomitable will and dauntless courage for his actions under fire. His actions saved the lives of his fellow soldiers at the cost of his own. He should not be forgotten.
Please keep all of our service personnel and their families in your prayers.
Charles R. Pearson
Chaplain, Malvern Legion Post 375