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Here's The Story Of Vito Bertoldo, American Badass And Medal of Honor Recipient

One of my favorite things I do to wind down the week is to throw on any given war documentary that is out there. Like a lot of people that enjoy learning about the wars of our country's past and present, I gravitate mostly towards WWII documentaries. WWII in Colour and The Greatest Events of WWII in Colour are two of the very best documentaries on earth. I couldn't recommend those more and have watched both of them a handful of times start to finish. I'm never not entranced by them whenever I decide to throw them on. The combination of the production of the documentaries paired with the subject matter of WWII history will never not completely grasp me.

They're both on Netflix and if you haven't watched either of those two documentaries, start them now that the weather is shit. Throw some chili in the crockpot and bang out the 10, hour long episodes. I don't completely buy into the butterfly effect theory, but it's crazy how a few (seemingly small?) acts in the early 1900s led to the entire planet being at war not once, but twice. 

That's where I was on Friday. I was at home, avoiding talking to anybody and decided to 3chi my face off and find myself a documentary to watch while laying around on my ass. That's when I stumbled upon both the documentary "Medal of Honor," also on Netflix, and the story of Vito Bertoldo: WWII Medal of Honor recipient and all around bad ass from Decatur, IL. 

Watch the video at the top of the blog. It's a brief video and doesn't come CLOSE to telling Bertoldo's story of bad assery in full, but gives enough cliff notes for those that aren't privy to Bertoldo's actions that led to him being awarded the Medal of Honor by President Truman at the end of the war in 1945. If that video doesn't hook you enough to watch his hour long chapter on Netflix, then take a stroll through his wikipedia page or read his full Medal of Honor citation:

He fought with extreme gallantry while guarding 2 command posts against the assault of powerful infantry and armored forces which had overrun the battalion's main line of resistance. On the close approach of enemy soldiers, he left the protection of the building he defended and set up his gun in the street, there to remain for almost 12 hours driving back attacks while in full view of his adversaries and completely exposed to 88-mm., machinegun and small-arms fire. He moved back inside the command post, strapped his machinegun to a table and covered the main approach to the building by firing through a window, remaining steadfast even in the face of 88-mm. fire from tanks only 75 yards away. One shell blasted him across the room, but he returned to his weapon. When 2 enemy armored personnel carriers led by a tank moved toward his position, he calmly waited for the troops to dismount and then, with the tank firing directly at him, leaned out of the window and mowed down the entire group of more than 20 Germans. Some time later, removal of the command post to another building was ordered. M/Sgt. Bertoldo voluntarily remained behind, covering the withdrawal of his comrades and maintaining his stand all night. In the morning he carried his machinegun to an adjacent building used as the command post of another battalion and began a day-long defense of that position. He broke up a heavy attack, launched by a self-propelled 88-mm. gun covered by a tank and about 15 infantrymen. Soon afterward another 88-mm. weapon moved up to within a few feet of his position, and, placing the muzzle of its gun almost inside the building, fired into the room, knocking him down and seriously wounding others. An American bazooka team set the German weapon afire, and M/Sgt. Bertoldo went back to his machinegun dazed as he was and killed several of the hostile troops as they attempted to withdraw. It was decided to evacuate the command post under the cover of darkness, but before the plan could be put into operation the enemy began an intensive assault supported by fire from their tanks and heavy guns. Disregarding the devastating barrage, he remained at his post and hurled white phosphorus grenades into the advancing enemy troops until they broke and retreated. A tank less than 50 yards away fired at his stronghold, destroyed the machinegun and blew him across the room again but he once more returned to the bitter fight and, with a rifle, single-handedly covered the withdrawal of his fellow soldiers when the post was finally abandoned. With inspiring bravery and intrepidity M/Sgt. Bertoldo withstood the attack of vastly superior forces for more than 48 hours without rest or relief, time after time escaping death only by the slightest margin while killing at least 40 hostile soldiers and wounding many more during his grim battle against the enemy hordes.

I know you half wits are lazy and it's a struggle to get through that many words for most of you, so I'll write out the cliff notes if you can't handle reading President Truman's citation during his ceremony or watch the 6 minute video I embedded above.

Vito had dog shit eyes, wasn't allowed to fight in the war because of his dog shit eyes, said, "fuck that," appealed, won, ended up defending an entire post in France BY HIMSELF while taking out dozens of Germans, German tanks, and German mortar rounds. It was legit 1 vrs. an entire German infantry unit for 2 straight days (literally) and Bertoldo didn't sleep, eat or shit until he single handedly forced the Germans to retreat. One person vs. all of that and he not only won, but he lived to tell the story. Incredible. 

This isn't to downplay the actions of other MoH recipients the docudrama detailed, but Bertoldo's story stuck with me the rest of the weekend. It sent me down internet rabbit holes on his life and I felt it was appropriate to pay him special homage via a blog on www.barstoolsports.com.

Dude is a hero and bad ass and people should know about him in 2021 and beyond. Simple as that.