Oresko Was Awarded The Medal By President Truman In 1945

CRESSKILL, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A World War II veteran believed to be the nation’s oldest living Medal of Honor recipient has died in New Jersey. Nicholas Oresko was 96.

Englewood Hospital and Medical Center officials say Oresko died there Friday night.

Oresko had recently been hospitalized after hurting himself in a fall at an assisted living center in Cresskill. He died of complications from surgery for a broken right femur.

“He’s a legend, he’s an inspiration, he’s everything I admire in a human being,” Westwood Police Officer Scott McNiff told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith.

McNiff was part of a contingent of people who spent time with Oresko during his final days.

The Bayonne native received the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman on Oct. 30, 1945. While serving as an Army Master sergeant, the badly wounded Oresko single-handedly took out two enemy bunkers during the Battle of the Bulge and killed 12 German soldiers.

His actions were praised as key to the Allies’ victory, and he was credited with preventing numerous American casualties.

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