FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) – One of the original soldiers from World War II Merrill's Marauders passed away on Christmas Eve at the age of 97, and on Saturday he was laid to rest and honored for the heroic leader he was.
Vincent Melillo was a retired master sergeant and he was also a Korean War veteran, veteran of the 5th Regimental Combat Team and a member of the Ranger Hall of Fame.
"The Fort Benning and Ranger community has lost one of its heroes," said Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, Maneuver Center of Excellence commander. "Our thoughts are with his family on this solemn day. Vince and the rest of our WW II veterans paved the way for us that wear the uniform today. We are forever grateful for his service to our community and our great nation."
Master Sgt. Melillo enlisted in 1940 and served in the 33rd Infantry for one year in Panama and two years later in Trinidad. He received several awards in recognition of his bravery and selfless service including the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Defensive Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and the Ranger Tab.