Nicholas Oresko, the nation’s oldest Medal of Honor recipient, died Friday at Englewood hospital surrounded by service members and veterans who had gathered to support the 96-year-old World War II hero.
Oresko was a U.S. Army Master Sergeant when he single-handedly killed 12 German soldiers and took out two enemy bunkers while seriously wounded during the Battle of the Bulge, near Tettingen, Germany.
“Although weak from loss of blood, he refused to be evacuated until assured the mission was successfully accomplished,” according to his Medal of Honor citation, presented by President Harry Truman Oct. 30, 1945.
Oresko, a Bayonne-native who lived in Cresskill, died at the hospital from complications from a broken femur, the Record reported. Scores of military veterans, active-duty service members and police officers were at his side, some traveling from out of state to visit after news of his hospitalization spread on social media.
“He’s loved throughout the Army. He’s an American hero,” Richard E. Robitaille, a friend, told the newspaper.
Update: Funeral services will be held 1 p.m. Thursday at Bergen County Community College’s Anna Maria Ciccone Theater, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus.