At age 17, Joe Cacioppo dropped out of high school in 1943 and joined the Marines to serve his country during World War II.
He was assigned to the Fourth Marine Division and was part of the force on Iwo Jima. On the front lines he was shot in his left hip, but kept fighting.
“I didn’t think I would make it off the island,” Cacioppo said.
He was later awarded a Purple Heart, but another accolade from his military service, the World War II Victory Medal, was never given to him.
That oversight was rectified Thursday, when the 92-year-old resident of Harmony Hall Assisted Living Center in Columbia received the overdue decoration at a...