The Bronze Star medal was presented to Private First Class Ubaldo Joseph Ciniero in a ceremony at his home in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, on July 27.
Brigadier General Michael J. Leeney, the deputy commanding general of operations for the 40th Infantry Division, attended in person to deliver the veteran’s long-awaited award.
“In retrospect, when we look back and understand what he did when he was a young man, it’s like, wow,” said Ciniero’s son, Joel Ciniero, in footage shot by the California National Guard. “I’ve got to tell you, it sets you down for a minute, makes you think. For sure, my dad is my hero.”
According to Joel, his father never spoke about the war itself, choosing instead to share stories of the camaraderie between himself and his fellow soldiers. He was always very guarded because “combat was difficult for him,” Joel said.
Intrigued to know more, the veteran’s son scoured the internet and found his father’s name on the website of the U.S. Army’s 8th Armored Division, with whom Ciniero was deployed in Europe during World War II. He noticed there was a record of his father earning the Bronze Star, yet when he asked Ciniero to confirm, the veteran knew nothing about it.
“We never got the opportunity to have a ceremony, so that’s why we’re here today,” Joel explained.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Ciniero earned his Bronze Star for “meritorious achievement in active ground combat.”
The California National Guard, wishing to celebrate the veteran on the occasion of his award ceremony, posted on Twitter, writing: “Heroism knows no age.”
Watch the video:
(Staff Sgt. Kimberly Hill/DVIDSHUB)