Monday, May 14, 2018




Vietnam War hero receives Bronze Star

Cpl. Bill Balzano (retired) with his Bronze Star (Photo: Johnny B)

CARMEL – The year was 1966 when Bill Balzano joined five other young men from Carmel who joined the Marine Corps. A little more than a year later, Balzano, assigned as a machine gunner with a security platoon in Vietnam, Ninth Marine Amphibious Brigade, came under enemy fire on the morning of June 6, 1967.

Lance Corporal Balzano, along with 17 men, was defending a vital radio relay position and during the initial assault by as many as 90 North Vietnamese Regulars, six Marines were killed and four others seriously wounded.

Balzano, former Kent Police chief, and a member of the police force for a quarter century, relocated his M-60 machine gun to the rear of his foxhole which the military said “caused him to be exposed to heavy enemy fire.” Balzano fired his M-60 at the charging enemy stopping the forward aggression.

During the battle, the Marines reported “Corporal Balzano suppressed the enemy from his fighting position, all under a barrage of enemy fire and explosive projectiles directed at destroying the last machine gun protecting the hill.”

While repelling the enemy, Balzano suffered a head wound. The military reported: “In the face of all this adversity, he maintained continuous fire with his machine gun, rifle and grenades to protect the vital communication encampment.”

A half-century later, Balzano was honored by the Marine Corps when the Putnam hero was presented with a Bronze Star w/Combat V in Providence, Rhode Island, while federal officials, family members and close friends from Putnam looked on.

Johnny B traveled to the Ocean State along with former Kent Police officers Kevin Douchkoff, Nick Balzano, Jerry Raneri, Jimmy Camardella and Dennis Illuminate.

John said he was never “more proud being an American. To see my dear friend Bill Balzano receive his well deserved medal decades later, was an inspiring experience and one that I will never forget.”


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