On October 25, 1943, Vince Speranza was drafted into the United States Army just after graduating high school.
Vince was born March 23, 1925 to Frank and Frances Speranza in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. He grew up on Statten Island in a large and extended Italian family during the Great Depression.
On November 15, 1943, Vince officially entered the service. After he was drafted, he was sent to Camp Upton in New York where he stayed until he was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia to train with the 87th Infantry Division. He volunteered for the Parachute Infantry and was sent back to Fort Benning for further training. Then, he was sent overseas with Company H, 3rd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division from Camp Shanks on board the Queen Mary.
His unit arrived in France and would later fight in the "Battle of the Bulge," December of 1944. He engaged in his first firefight against German forces in freezing temperatures. That year, was the coldest winter in decades.
The "Battle of the Bulge" resulted in the highest number of casualties of any operation during WWII. Vincent was a tenacious machine gunner during the historic battle, earning him the nickname "Curse and traverse" Speranza.
Speranza's grit and tenacity earned him numerous awards including: Fourragere, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, 2 Bronze Star Medals, 2 Purple Hearts, Army Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 2 Campaign Stars, World War II Victory Medal, French Croix de Guerre, Legion of Honour, and the Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster.
In 1948, Vince returned home and married Iva Leftwich. They would go on to have two daughters and a son. Iva passed away on March 6, 2017.
Speranza taught U.S. History in the New York City schools for over twenty years until he retired in Auburn, Illinois.
Today, Vincent travels all around the world sharing his war stories in hopes of reminding citizens of the value of freedom and the importance of leadership under adversity. In May 2021, Speranza will lead the Honor Ride, a cross-country tribute to all service members. He will be escorted by The Run for The Wall and Rolling Thunder organizers to the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC.
After, Speranza will pay his respects to our fallen Vietnam veterans, he will "Pass the Torch" to the next generation of veterans at the Wall on Terror in Marseilles, Illinois.
The "Pass the Torch" project and documentary are sponsored by PRAESIDUS, the creators of "The Battle of Bulge" commemorative watch.
To learn more about Speranza's memories of the war, you can read them in his book called NUTS available on Amazon.
The first 50 customers to purchase Vincent J. Speranza commemorative watches, will receive the award-winning NUTS! book.
"Freedom is not free; Someone must be willing to pay the price if it is to be maintained."