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Port Washington vet honored for bravery

James Salerno, 91, from Port Washington, received a

James Salerno, 91, from Port Washington, received a medal he earned but never received for his bravery during World War II. (March 24, 2011) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

As a young U.S. Army engineer with the 1340th Battalion, James Salerno cleared land mines to make a path for the 1944 D-Day invasion of Normandy, France.

He was also part of a group of 250 soldiers sent to scale a cliff to remove enemy gun installations. Only 50 of them returned.

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights) traveled to Salerno’s Port Washington home today to present the 91-year-old with an honor he had earned but never received: the Jubilee of Liberty Medal for bravery.

The French government awarded the medal to servicemen and veterans who participated in the D-Day invasion. Salerno also received a “Thank-You-America Certificate 1944-1945,” also presented by the French government.

Ackerman’s office secured the honors after being contacted by Salerno’s son, Thomas. The congressman also gave the veteran an American flag that had flown over the Capitol.

Salerno enlisted in the Army in 1941 when he was 21 and served for four years, until he was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant.

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