Award: Veterans' Hall of Fame
Anthony Casamento, having distinguished himself with uncommon valor and gallantry on the field of battle, earned a place among the elite veterans of New York State as a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Mr. Casamento, who lived in West Islip, enlisted in the Marine Corps on August 19, 1940, and was assigned to the 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was deployed to the southwest Pacific for the initial invasion of Japanese-held territory. A Corporal at the time, Mr. Casamento took part in the famed Marine assault on Guadalcanal in August 1942. On November 1 of that year, while serving as a leader of a machine gun squad, Corporal Casamento’s unit came under heavy fire near the Matanikau River. During the ensuing battle, all members of his unit were either killed or severely wounded. Despite his own injuries, Mr. Casamento heroically held the enemy at bay, thereby protecting the flanks of adjoining companies.
In 1964, two eyewitnesses to his heroism were located, and a chain of events ultimately led to President Jimmy Carter presenting him with the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award, in 1980. In addition, Mr. Casamento is the recipient of the Purple Heart, the WW II Victory Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Medal with two bronze stars, and a Presidential Unit Citation. Mr. Casamento passed away July 27, 1987, at the VA Hospital in Northport, New York, after a long illness.