SOLE SURVIVOR OF VIETNAM AMBUSH INDUCTED INTO VETERAN’S HALL OF FAME
Carmel, N.Y. – (11/14/11) – Twenty-seven veterans throughout the Hudson Valley were honored by Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) at the Veterans’ Hall of Fame ceremony on Thursday.
The Veteran’s Hall of Fame was created by Senator Ball, and designed to honor outstanding veterans from throughout the 40th Senate District. Each veteran that was honored will be included on a traveling wall that will tour local municipalities throughout the 40th district.
Senator Ball’s honoree for the Veteran’s Hall of Fame was retired Staff Sergeant Bert Gonci. Born in Manhattan on January 24, 1949, Gonci joined the Army in 1967 where he was assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment (Airborne), I Company. During his service in Vietnam, including several Special Operations, Gonci earned two Purple Hearts and a Purple Heart citation, as well as a Bronze Star and an Army Commendation. Additionally, Ret. SSG Gonci received the Conspicuous Service Award from New York Governor Mario Cuomo in recognition for his service.
The lone survivor of his team following an ambush in Vietnam, Gonci is reluctant to accept this or any honor, and has declined several medals and citations for his service. “It is the families of the soldiers who made that sacrifice who should be honored. And it’s the soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan missing legs and arms who should be honored,” said Gonci.
Currently, Gonci manages Haviland Hollow Farms in Patterson, has been a volunteer for the Patterson Fire Department, and served as the Department’s Vice President.
During his opening remarks Senator Ball said, “The veterans who are here today were nominated by their communities, hand-picked because they chose a path of courage, honor, integrity and bravery; a path that helped shape America as we know it, protecting our way of life and liberty.”