Everyday Heroes

103-Year-Old WWII Vet Gets Combat Medals After 75 Years

Wait until you hear the story of how this hero earned his military accolades.


Peter Fantasia knew he would have to wait a while to receive his medals of honor after serving in the military during World War II, but he never thought he'd be waiting 75 years.

The 103-year-old WWII veteran was finally honored for his service at a special awards ceremony on Monday in Reading, MA.

Fantasia served as a US Army paramedic, and he was captured while tending to American soldiers in France in November 1944. He was held as a prisoner of war for six months until he was rescued by Russian forces. Because it took him so long to get home after he was released, he didn't seek out his medals.

“We all had a duty. That was my job," Fantasia told the Boston Herald. “My job was to take care of soldiers. None of them died while they were with me."

Sheila White D'Ambrosio Facebook

Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton, who is a former Marine Core Officer, worked with the military, and Fantasia's family, to get the medals.

“He is a true example to the rest of the country and the community what American heroism is all about," Moulton told WHDH-TV .

Fantasia received eight medals including the Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal and American Defense Service Medal. Moulton presented the medals to the veteran as his family looked on in admiration.

“To us, he's dad. He has always put other people first," Fantasia's daughter Martha Mesiti said. “But, to have other people recognize how special he is — that's amazing."

Brad Jones Facebook

Fantasia, a formal postal worker, was happy to accept the medals, although he said none of it would have been possible without the help of his fellow soldiers.

“It wasn't just myself," he said. “I had help one way or another."

In addition to the medals Fantasia received at the ceremony, he also has a silver star, the nation's third-highest decoration for valor in combat, which he received after he rushed to save his injured comrades at the “Attack and Capture of Rodalbe."

When asked how he felt after finally receiving the medals, he said, “God has been good, I don't know what to say."

We're glad to hear that Fantasia was finally recognized for his years of service – we're sure he'll be wearing his new medals with pride.

Inspired by Congressman Moulton's action to get Fantasia the recognition he deserves? You can help support military veterans, too. There are plenty of organizations to get involved in, like the Wounded Warrior Project and Homes for Our Troops , or you can do small things like drive a vet to a doctors appointment, or writer a letter to thank a veteran .

Let's #StartSomethingGood together.

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