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Vincent Speranza

H Company, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Born March 23, 1925, in New York, New York
WWII Service: 1943-1946

Vincent Speranza

Vince’s first combat experience was on the brutal front lines of the Battle of the Bulge. While the 19-year-old could not provide the makeshift aid stations with what they desperately needed— supplies and medical staff—he knew he could bring comfort to the wounded and despondent.

Comrades never forgot Vince’s vibrant, larger-than-life personality or his tireless efforts to lift their spirits—even when it involved risking his own safety. In a story now legendary in the Ardennes and beyond, Vince made a solo mission through war-ravaged Bastogne in search of drinks for wounded comrades. He returned to camp with beer, as much as could fill his helmet— the same one he wore in his foxhole.

After the war and decades as a history teacher, Vince finally returned to Bastogne at age 85 to rediscover the place where he’d learned a hard lesson: “Freedom isn’t free. Someone will always have to pay a price.” Yet he also shared the upbeat outlook that sustained him and his comrades through war: “No matter how tough things get, there’s always something to look forward to. In a terrible situation, there’s always some way to find the bright side, to bring out the best in everything.”