American Legion Post 2 will honor the late Major Ed Riccio Jr. as part of its Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony

Published on Friday, 3 December 2021 17:12
Written by BRIAN M. JOHNSON

@brianjohnsonBP

BRISTOL – American Legion Post 2 will honor the late Major Ed Riccio Jr. as part of its Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony on Dec. 7.

The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. inside the American Legion Post 2 hall at 22 Hooker Court. It will include the POW/MIA Missing Man table ceremony and the reading of the names of the 19 people from Connecticut who were killed in the surprise attack by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941. The bell from the USS Kidd, a ship which saw action during World War II and served until after the Korean War, will also be rang 19 times.

City and legislative leaders have been invited to speak at the ceremony along with Gary Roy and Marianne Mihalyo, of the Iwo Jima World War II Traveling Military Museum. The public is invited to attend this year, but no refreshments will be served after like in years past.

Neal Supranovich, former historian at American Legion Post 2, said that American Legion Post 2 will honor the memory of the late Major Ed Riccio Jr., who survived the Pearl Harbor attacks and went on to earn a Distinguished Flying Cross for his valor in World War II. Riccio Jr. died in 2016.

“Ed Riccio Jr. was stationed at Pearl Harbor just before the war started,” said Supranovich. “The morning of the attack, he was in his barracks. He heard an explosion and believed that the water heater had blown up. He was a mechanic and also took care of things around the base. He ran to the door and, as soon as he reached it, a bomb hit his barracks. He was thrown through the door and he was one of three people from his barracks that survived that day.”

Supranovich said that Riccio Jr. is one of only a few people to have received a Distinguished Flying Cross while not being an officer and not being a pilot at the time. He was a crew member on a B-17 bomber and after the plane was shot up, the pilot and co-pilot were both killed. Riccio was able to successfully make an emergency landing on Guadalcanal.”

Supranovich said that while Riccio Jr. was in the hospital recovering, a general came in and told him that he would go back to the U.S. to sell savings bonds. Riccio Jr. wanted none of that.

“According to him, a battle started between him and the general,” said Riccio. “He wanted to be a pilot. H went AWOL from the hospital as soon as he could and was found to be hiding out with the Marines. Because of him being a hero, they ended up sending him to flight school.”

Supranovich said that Riccio Jr. ended up flying a P-38 for the rest of the war, but didn’t explain his missions to him. However, he later found out that Riccio Jr. flew planes during the Berlin Air Lift.

In 2014, Riccio Jr. was honored at the Golden Kielbasa Veterans Open. A copy of a photo of Riccio Jr. from that event was donated to Bristol Public Library and can be seen today next to the Bristol History Room.

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or bjohnson@bristolpress.com.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Friday, 3 December 2021 17:12. Updated: Friday, 3 December 2021 17:15.