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Sheldon W.
Democrat RI

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  • Tribute to Vincent Petrarca

    by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

    Posted on 2015-01-22

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    WHITEHOUSE. I am honored to congratulate Mr. Vincent Petrarca of West Warwick, RI, a proud American veteran and beloved family man, on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

    Vin enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 18 and served in the Pacific Fleet. He was a crewmember of the destroyer USS Newcomb when, in April 1945, that ship encountered heavy air bombardment from Japanese forces off the west coast of Okinawa. Although struck multiple times by kamikaze attackers and sustaining heavy casualties, the Newcomb drove off or shot down several aircraft. ``Nelson's accolade to his sailors, `They fought as one man, and that man a hero,''' wrote historian Samuel Eliot Morison, ``could well be applied to her crew,'' which earned the Navy Unit Commendation.

    Vin married Jeanne Lesniak, and their union, now in its 62nd year, has been blessed with 7 children, 12 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren. Vin remains active, continuing a formidable amateur golf career. His tournament victories span a half-century, from the 1962 West Warwick Country Club Championship to the 2012 Rhode Island Father/ Daughter State Championship.

    On behalf of the State of Rhode Island and the Senate of the United States, I congratulate Vincent Petrarca on 90 remarkable years, and wish him health and happiness in the years to come. ____________________

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