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A long overdue thank you received - Local receives medals for military service

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Brooklyn resident Nunzio Agati finally received his WWII Victory Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and five other medals and awards for his military service to our country, courtesy of Congressman Vito Fossella.

Agati, who lives in Gravesend, had attempted to acquire his medals from the federal government on his own. However, due to a July, 1973 disastrous fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri, which destroyed approximately 16-18 million official military personnel files, including Agati’s, his efforts were unsuccessful. This is when Agati contacted Fossella’s office earlier this year for assistance.

Fossella requested that the US National Archives and Records Administration exhaust all efforts to verify Agati’s service during WWII. After digging out some of his files from preservation and searching alternate sources of military service data, the National Personnel Records Center confirmed Agati’s service and sent Fossella his seven medals and awards. Bob Capano, Fossella’s Brooklyn director, presented the medals to Agati.

Agati served during World War II from 1943-1945. He served with the 97 Portable Surgical Hospital Unit and on the USS Mercy. The portable surgical hospital was a medical unit of four doctors and generally 32 enlisted men. They work directly behind the line of battle and assist casualties of war and often were in the line of fire themselves. The USS Mercy was a Comfort-class hospital ship and was commissioned August 7, 1944. It operated in the Philippines and Okinawa during WWII.

Fossella said, “Nunzio Agati served our nation proudly and with distinction during WWII and it was my honor to ensure that he received these medals. Whether we are talking about receiving medals, quality care at our VA hospitals, or any other matter – our men and women in uniform deserve the very best, and during my tenure in the United States Congress there was no greater privilege then fighting for them.”

The medals and awards Agati was presented with were: The World War II Victory Medal, a decoration of the United States military, created by an act of Congress in July 1945; the American Campaign Medal, awarded to personnel for service within the American Theater between 7 December 1941 and 2 March 1946; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, a service decoration of the Second World War, awarded to any member of the United States military who served in the Pacific Theater from 1941-1945; the Honorable Service Lapel Button, a token of appreciation given to every American service member discharged during and after World War II; the Good Conduct Medal, awarded for exemplary behavior, efficiency, and fidelity in active Federal military service; the Philippine Liberation Ribbon, awarded for participation in the Philippines’ liberation from October 17, 1944 to September 3, 1945; and the Marksman Badge & Rifle Bar, a military badge of the United States Army and United States Marine Corps, presented to service members upon successful completion of a weapons qualification course.

Agati said, “This is a great…Thanksgiving gift. I thank Congressman Fossella and his staff for helping me to finally receive these medals, and am proud to have served our country.”

The National Personnel Records Center is one of the US National Archives & Records Administration’s largest operations. It is a central repository of personnel-related records, both military and federal civil service.

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