Senator Owen H. Johnson recently honored a local distinguished veteran to represent the 4th Senate district in the New York Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame. Senator Johnson inducted John T. Digilio, Jr. of Bay Shore at a ceremony in Albany on Flag Day, June 14, 2011. The Veterans’ Hall of Fame was established by the Senate in 2005 to honor and recognize outstanding veterans, like John T. Digilio, Jr., whose gallantry in the U.S. Armed forces is complemented by their service to the community.
“It is my honor to induct John T. Digilio, Jr. into the New York Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame,” said Senator Owen H. Johnson. “I am proud of John’s service in Vietnam and the sacrifices he made to ensure that freedom and liberty would be preserved for future generations. His meritorious service to our nation deserves special recognition.”
General John T. Digilio, Jr. grew up in Bay Shore, NY, graduating from Bay Shore High School, and then earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree from LaSalle College and a Master’s of Business Administration Degree from Wagner College. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1967 from LaSalle University's artillery ROTC program. He entered active duty in 1969 and served as Executive Officer and Detachment Commander, at the U.S. Army Hospital, Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, California. In 1970, he was transferred to the 95th Evacuation Hospital in DaNang, Republic of Vietnam.
Shortly after his return from Vietnam, General Digilio joined the New York Army National Guard. He has held numerous command and staff positions including Commander, 244th Medical Group, a Contingency Force Pool unit under the 44th Medical Brigade (Airborne), XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In July 1997, General Digilio lead a team of military and civilian experts to Montevideo, Uruguay to train that country’s senior civilian and military personnel on the health aspects of natural and man-made disaster preparedness.
General Digilio is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College, the Command and General Staff College, the National Security Management Program and the Reserve Component National Security Course of the National Defense University. He has been awarded over 24 decorations, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and the New York Army National Guard Conspicuous Service Medal.
He is the first member of the New York Army National Guard to be inducted into the Order of Military Medical Merit, U.S. Army Medical Department. He is also the first recipient of the Colonel Gouverneur Morris Citizen Soldier Award presented by the Adjutant General of the State of New York. In 1997, he received the prestigious Joel T. Boone Award presented by the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States. He was invested into the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (Knight Templars) and holds the dignity of Grand Croix (GCTJ) and is prior of the Priory of St. Patrick in the Hudson Valley. He is also listed in Who’s Who in America.
He was the national commander of La Sociétè des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux (Forty and Eight) in 2003, a Past Commander of the Bay Shore American Legion Post #365, a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Military Order of the Cooties. In the civilian sector, General Digilio is the administrator of the Bishop C. W. MacLean Nursing Home, Far Rockaway, NY.
General Digilio is married to the former Dianne Pilgrim, of Delhi, NY and they reside in Bay Shore, NY. His numerous community activities include being a past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Long Island Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, a Trustee and past first Vice President of the Brightwaters and the Bay Shore Lions Clubs.