President signs Hanna bill to honor Corporal Steven Blaine Riccione
May 16, 2012
Geneva Post Office to be renamed after Riccione who was killed in 1967 in Vietnam
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Geneva Post Office located at 67 Castle Street will officially be renamed the Corporal Steven Blaine Riccione Post Office.
President Barack Obama this week signed into law U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna's bill to rename the facility in honor of Cpl. Riccione, a Geneva, N.Y. native who was killed in South Vietnam nearly 44 years ago.
Cpl. Riccione was 20 years old when he volunteered to join the United States Army during the Vietnam War. The former Geneva High School student was killed in action in Quang Tin province in South Vietnam on Sept. 27, 1967 while helping evacuate wounded soldiers after a fierce battle with North Vietnamese troops.
"I'm pleased that Cpl. Riccione's family will be able to witness this long overdue honor for his sacrifice," Rep. Hanna said. "It will be a permanent display for future generations to remember Cpl. Riccione and his heroic actions. His family, friends and this nation have always been proud of him – this will be an overt display – and I'm proud to have worked to make it happen.
"To serve one's country is among the most noble and selfless acts available to man, particularly during times of war. This recognition should make our men and women overseas, our Upstate veterans and their families proud. A life can never be repaid but it can be honored."
Major General E.M. Strong, then Adjutant General of the 101st Airborne's 1st Brigade, described Riccione's actions in an October 1967 account of what took place the day Riccione died:
"PVT Riccione, with complete disregard for his own safety, rushed from his covered position through the vicious hail of enemy fire to aid his wounded comrade. He continuously exposed himself to the withering hail of enemy fire, standing up at times, to place effective fire on enemy positions. When his weapon was struck by an enemy bullet and demolished, he undauntedly picked up a machine gun and charged an enemy bunker, killing two enemy soldiers. Shortly after, PVT Riccione was mortally wounded while helping to evacuate wounded personnel while under heavy enemy fire. PVT Riccione's devotion to duty and personal courage, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army."
While Riccione held the rank of Private at the time of his death, Major General Strong recommended that he posthumously be promoted to Corporal and be awarded the Bronze Star Medal with V Device and the Bronze Star Medal with First Oak Leaf Cluster.
Rep. Hanna will work with the U.S. Postal Service and the Riccione family to organize a dedication ceremony later this summer.