L/CPL Robert J. Slattery, Marine Corps League Det #206, NEWSLETTER, Apr 2019 - #8
Marine Joseph Ralph Bellofatto

Thanks go to the family of Joseph Ralph Bellofatto. We received a donation from the family to be used by Marines Care to assist needy Marines. 

Joe graduated from Passaic Valley High School in 1985 and joined the Marines shortly after. He proudly served in Persian Gulf War Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

He was a skilled laborer, talented in painting, carpentry, and glazing and most recently worked at Hackensack Glass. He was an avid fisherman and a passionate cook. His charismatic personality and infectious laughter brought joy to many occasions. 

Marine Bellofatto passed away on Monday March 4th, 2019 in Oak Ridge, NJ. just a week short of his 52nd birthday. We would like to thank him and also his family for the donation and for placing the memorial request in the obit that follows: “In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Marines Care Foundation, Inc. P.O.Box 566 West Caldwell NJ 07007-0566 www.marinescare.org”

Thanks Joe for your service and for assisting needy service people with the donation.

Medal of Honor

In October of 2018, SgtMaj John Canley was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was my Company Gunny during my time in Viet Nam with Alpha 1/1. As part of the three-day event, he was presented the Medal of Honor Flag at Marine Corps Barrack at 8th & I, Washington, DC. After the presentation, I made mention to one of the Majors present that Mrs. Gonzalez never received the Flag on behalf of her son Sgt Alfredo Gonzalez who was KIA on 4 February 1968 in Hue City 51 years ago this month. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1969. Commandant General Neller approached me and said he would make it happen and he did.

I did some research on the Flag and this is what I found:

The Medal of Honor Flag, honoring the 3400 recipients of the medal, was designed by William L. (Bill) Kendall of Jefferson, Iowa. Bill spent his entire military career from 1954-1974 in the U.S. Army Special Forces and served three tours with MACV-SOG in Vietnam.

The flag, which is presented to recipients of the Medal of Honor, was sponsored through Congress by Representative Tom Latham and Senator Charles Grassley in 2002. It became part of the Congressional Record on 24 June 2002 and approved by President George W. Bush in October 2002.

The thirteen white five-pointed stars are arranged as on the current Medal of Honor ribbon. The original flag design by Bill Kendall was altered by the Institute of Heraldry - removing the words "Medal of Honor" along with adding a gold border.

On Monday, 14 January 2019, nine Marines from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines arrived in Edinburg Texas. At our hotel in Edinburg, the owner asked us why we were in town. When we told him about the ceremony, he told us that he had attended the Freddy Gonzalez Elementary school as a young boy. He and his wife picked up our bar and snack tabs. Our group relayed stories of Sgt Gonzalez and the Battle of Hue City to him and his wife.

On the first day, while we were having breakfast at the hotel, we met a Marine wearing a 1/1 hat. He was with Bravo 1/1 in 67-68.

He talked about the day Alpha 1/1 had to help his Company on 15 December 1967 at Con Thien. He did not make Hue City as his platoon was sent to another location during Tet. I presented for all to see the pictures and maps I have of Hue City. Coincidentally, he told us that he was in Infantry Training Regiment (ITR) with Cpl Norris Brenden, my Machine Gun Squad Leader, who was KIA on 5 February in Hue City. He saw the pictures I had of Cpl Brenden in my album. He told me knew head been killed. It’s absolutely amazing what happens when Marines get together no matter where we gather.

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