March 19 (UPI) -- After nearly 70 years, Marine Cpl. Salvatore Naimo received a Silver Star award on Friday for heroism in the Korean War.
"I earned this for something I was trained to do," Naimo said. "I am very proud of this."
The Silver Star is regarded as the third-highest award for valor in the U.S. Armed Services.
Naimo was a member of Howe Company of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, in 1951, as it battled to gain ground against the Chinese army, which was protected by heavy enemy mortar and artillery fire in an area called "the punchbowl."
On Sept. 14, 1951, a direct artillery hit critically injured two Marines near Naimo, who left his position to pick up one casualty and carry him to the back of the formation.
Struck by a round of fire and himself injured, Naimo successfully brought the second Marine to safety. Naimo then returned to combat, firing his rifle and throwing grenades despite his injuries.
The Marines retained control of the territory, a Marine Corps statement on Friday said.
Naimo's platoon commander said at the time that he would recommend Naimo for a medal, but was killed in action two days later. The commander of Howe Company was informed of Naimo's heroism but was injured on the same day.
Col. Robert Crawford, who dedicates his volunteer time to researching and securing awards for overlooked veterans, had been working on Naimo's situation since 2018.
"It doesn't matter if the Marine's actions took place yesterday, or 70 years ago, we will always ensure our Marines are recognized for their performance," Polidaro said at Friday's ceremony.