Written by Kendra Port
COVENTRY – On Friday Congressman James Langevin presented military decorations to retired Chief Petty Officer Edmund Del Barone, a Coventry resident who earned his medals throughout the course of his 22 years in the U.S. Navy.
Del Barone began his service in 1940 when he attended boot camp at the Newport Naval Station. He spent the majority of his naval career at sea performing maintenance on the several ships he was stationed on, including a destroyer, the USS Wadleigh.
Del Barone accepted his numerous medals during a ceremony at Alpine Nursing Home in Coventry surrounded by his friends and children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
“When we were contacted about his medals we were very proud to go to work and do what we needed to do to track these medals down and verify his eligibility for each,” said Langevin. “It’s one of the longest lists I’ve ever read.”
Del Barone received the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation with one bronze star; the Navy Good Conduct Medal (5th award); the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp; the American Campaign Medal; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one silver star and two bronze stars; the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star; and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal – Lebanon.
“Throughout this generation there is a pride that has continued to show through,” said Langevin. “He put on the uniform and did what needed to be done, and that’s so typical of the World War II generation. There are many men and woman who continue putting on the uniform and we’re grateful for your service.”
“When we talk about heroes, look no further than the World War II generation, the greatest generation that helped shape the world,” said Kasim Yarn, Rhode Island Director of Veterans Affairs. “What can they tell us? Everything, through the lens of our greatest generation. They set the standard for all of us to be here today. He didn’t do this by himself and it wasn’t about him – it was about serving his nation.”
“I salute you,” Yarn concluded.
Langevin said the many medals Del Barone received show a “dedication to our nation and the principles for which it stands.”
Del Barone is also a talented artist, having painted several emblems for naval ships as well as murals for different Veterans of Foreign Wars posts. He even painted one of the first emblems at the Naval War College in Newport.
“We’re very proud to see him recognized,” said his grandson, Dennis Tallo. “It should have happened 50 years ago, so it’s a long time coming.”
Prior to the ceremony Del Barone’s granddaughter, Kim, performed a rendition of Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless the USA.’