2LT Joseph V. Cerri

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Co. G 1953, Distinguished Service Cross, KIA 6/11/1953

Article:

Expect Body of Lt. Cerri Wednesday

The body of Lt. Joe V. Cerri Jr., who was killed in action in Korea, is expected to arrive in La Salle (Illinois) Wednesday and will be taken from the Rock Island depot to the Prey funeral home, Oglesby.  There will be a military escort from the depot to the funeral home.

The funeral will be held at 8:30 a.m. Saturday from the home of Lt. Cerri’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Cerri, Cedar Point, to St. Theresa’s Catholic church, Cedar Point, where the Rev. S.D. Bernardi, pastor, will celebrate a requiem mass at 9 a.m.  Burial will be in St. Vincent’s cemetery.

The rosary will be recited at 8:15 a.m. Saturday at the Cerri home by Father Bernardi and military rites will be held at the grave.

Lt. Cerri was the husband of the former Mary Zokal, Peru.

He was killed June 11, 1953 and the body arrived in the states early this week.

Obituary submitted by Susan Grusk Van De Wyngaerde

 

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS CITATION:

2nd Lieutenant Joseph V. Cerri (posthumous)

Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army
General Orders No. 733 – August 8, 1953

The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Second Lieutenant (Infantry) Joe V. Cerri (ASN: 0-1926012), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Platoon Leader with Company G, 2d Battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. Second Lieutenant Cerri distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of Kumhwa, Korea, on the morning of 11 June 1953. On that date, Lieutenant Cerri was at a point on the main line of resistance which was subjected to an artillery and mortar barrage, immediately followed by a ground assault by a numerically-superior force. Lieutenant Cerri deployed his men in the most advantageous fighting positions and then led them into the hand-to-hand combat which was raging on the position. Disregarding all thoughts of personal safety, Lieutenant Cerri climbed to the top of the trenches and remained constantly exposed to direct fire and shouted words of encouragement to his men. While in this position, Lieutenant Cerri was wounded by hostile grenade fragments and fell down a steep bank directly into the path of the enemy’s main assault wave. Though in great pain, Lieutenant Cerri fired into the enemy ranks until he lost consciousness. As remnants of the enemy force commenced a withdrawal, several of their soldiers dragged Lieutenant Cerri back toward hostile positions. After the battle, an Allied search patrol found Lieutenant Cerri’s lifeless body entangled in barbed wire a few hundred yards in front of enemy lines.