War medals no longer AWOL for late Carnegie man
More than 60 years after the end of World War II, Ernest Enrietti's service medals have been properly presented.
Enrietti, of Carnegie, died in 1995, and his wife, Lena, discovered her husband's discharge papers, indicating he had been awarded several service medals, including Bronze Stars.
“He deserves it,” Lena Enrietti said. “He went through a lot of battles. He never talked about it.”
In July, Carnegie Borough honored Enrietti, a longtime Main Street newsstand owner, with a flag ceremony. It was then that Mayor Jack Kobistek learned of the missing medals.
“It's important to make sure we recognize all the individuals who served before us,” he said. “I went to the only person I knew to go to.”
That person was Congressman Tim Murphy (R-Upper Saint Clair), who, with the help of his staff, secured the service medals from the U.S. government and department of justice.
“I am honored to present Ernest Enrietti's wife, Lena, with the medals he earned serving our country in World War II,” Murphy said. “His courage and sacrifice contributed to our ultimate victory in the Pacific and the liberation of millions in Asia and Europe.”
Lena Enrietti was presented with her husband's World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with denotations for two Silver and two Bronze Stars, the Combat Action Ribbon, Honorable Service lapel pin and discharge button. Murphy also presented her with a folded flag in her husband's honor.
She was overwhelmed, she said.
“I thank everyone,” she said. “I know my husband is looking down on us.”
Enrietti, born in 1924, enlisted in the Navy in 1943. He was involved in combat against Japanese forces in the South Pacific aboard the USS Langley and reached the rank of signalman-petty officer 2nd class.
“This is the greatest Christmas present I could receive,” Lena Enrietti said. “I'm just so happy.”
Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or firstname.lastname@example.org.