CRESSKILL, N.J., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Nicholas Oresko of Cresskill, N.J., the nation's oldest Medal of Honor recipient, has died, a family friend said. He was 96.
Oresko died of complications after surgery for a broken leg, John "Jack" Carbone of North Haledon told NorthJersey.com.
Oresko was a U.S. Army master sergeant during World War II when he was awarded the nation's highest military honor for valor beyond the call of duty for his actions during the Battle of the Bulge in Germany. Despite being wounded in the same leg for which he was hospitalized, Oresko took out two enemy bunkers.
Oresko had no living immediate family, Carbone said, but dozens of young members of the military stood vigil after learning he had been hospitalized.
"The kids held his hand; they prayed with him," Carbone said.
A friend of Oresko's, Richard E. Robitaille, said people came from far and wide to be with the war hero in his final hours.
"They understood the type of person we were talking about and said, 'We can't let him die alone,'" Robitaille said. "He's loved throughout the Army. He's an American hero."