A World War II veteran from Washington Township has received a long overdue honor for a stellar service.
“Today, we’re going to honor a giant,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gregg with the U.S. Army Medical Command about Felix J. Lisovich. “A giant that has gone long unrecognized, and we’re going to right that wrong today.”
On Tuesday at the American Legion in Belle Vernon, Gregg was joined by U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army Dr. Rory Cooper, state Reps. Justin Walsh and Bud Cook, Belle Vernon Mayor Gerald Jackson and a room packed with friends, family, fellow veterans and media to honor his accomplishments.
Three weeks after graduating from Charleroi High School in 1943, Lisovich enlisted as a surgical technician in the Army.
Following his training, he was deployed to the Pacific Theater from March 1944 to January 1946, where he participated in amphibious operations to liberate the Philippines, and encountered kamikaze attacks from Japanese fighter planes.
In 1945, Lisovich fought in the Battle of Luzon with the 172nd Infantry Regiment, 43rd Infantry Division.
During that battle, he engaged the enemy under intense fire and aided casualty evacuations while tasked with capturing a hill overlooking Rosario-Damortis Road. Lisovich was wounded by grenade shrapnel while aiding a fallen soldier and survived multiple banzai attacks.
“It’s truly an honor to present this to you today,” Reschenthaler said, giving Lisovich the Certificate of Recognition.
Reschenthaler said Lisovich’s record will also be submitted into the Congressional Record.
“The amazing thing about your service is how it has inspired others and continued to inspire other and future generations of service members,” Reschenthaler said. “Thank you for everything you did.”
Lisovich said following the event that he first heard about the honor two months ago and was completely surprised by it.
“It feels great,” Lisovich said. “I didn’t realize it would be this elaborate.”
Gregg said he was made aware of Lisovich’s accomplishments from Cpl. Brian Bender, a native from the area who contacted Gregg and sent to him Lisovich’s 32-page memoir.
“It’s 32 pages of reading that you cannot put down,” Gregg said. As he read the memoir, Gregg said he felt a sense of connection to Lisovich. “The reason I’m standing here today was because of giants like you.”
Gregg presented Lisovich with the Distinguished Member of the Army Medical Regiment, the Surgeon General’s Coin and the Order of Military Medical Merit. Gregg said Lisovich was the 12,294th person to receive the Order of Military Medical Merit honor, but, to him, there is no one greater to receive it.
For his service and his actions in World War II, Lisovich was awarded the Combat Medical Badge, Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, Purple Heart Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars and one arrow, Army of Occupation Medal, and the Philippine Liberation Medal with one bronze star.
In 1946, Lisovich completed his service in the Army reaching the rank of staff sergeant and returned to Pennsylvania.