Venditti earned rare honor decades after D-Day

Louis Venditti’s combat exploits began on June 6, 1944, when he parachuted into France with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in the pre-dawn hours of D-Day. By war’s end, he had a chest full of medals, including four Battle Stars for his participation in four major European campaigns, and two Invasion Arrowheads on his European Theatre of Operations ribbon. He also had two stars on his paratrooper wings for combat jumps on D-Day and in Operation Market Garden.

In addition, he received the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart for wounds received in combat on October 06, 1944, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Infantryman Badge and Pathfinder Badge. He was also entitled to wear the Order of the Orange Lanyard from the Netherlands for the liberation of Holland, and the Belgian Fourragere for the defense of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.

But his most unique and rare decoration was presented 65 years later at a special ceremony in Paris, France. Venditti was one of 38 American World War II Veterans awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honor by the French Government for participation in the D-Day Invasion to free France from Nazi occupation. Considered the highest honor in France, the medal was presented on June 05, 2009. Among the dignitaries in attendance were French President Nicolas Sarkozy and U.S. President Barack Obama. We are honored to have Louis Venditti’s French Legion of Honor in our collection, with plans to place it on display in 2021.

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Steve Corbo

A founding member and corporate secretary of the Italian American Veterans Museum, Steve Corbo is the museum’s curator and a military consultant for Fra Noi. He has served for 25 years as president of S.A. Corbo & Associates Inc., providing professional liability insurance to health care providers. The son and nephew of World War II veterans and a passionate military historian for over 50 years, he has written and published articles on a variety of topics, including military history, and serves as the military consultant for Fra Noi, the Chicago-area Italian-American magazine.

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