2005-11-09 / Features

Maltese Names Local Vet To New Hall Of Fame

State Senator Serphin R. Maltese announced that Robert E. O’Malley, who earned the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, while serving in Vietnam, was named one of the first members of the newly established New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.

The first-of-its-kind online Hall of Fame is designed to pay tribute to New Yorkers whose gallantry in the U.S. Armed Forces is complemented by their service to the community and significant accomplishments as a civilian. The Veterans Day tribute can be accessed through Maltese’s Web site: www.senatorserfmaltese.com.

“On Veterans’ Day, we pause to honor the men and women who serve our nation and the cause of freedom as members of the military,” Maltese said. “The Senate Veterans Hall of Fame pays tribute to all who serve, but also singles out for special recognition those whose gallantry and service have helped make our nation and our communities better places to live.”

The inaugural class of Senate Veterans Hall of Fame inductees includes more than 30 veterans from across the state who continue to serve with distinction.

Robert O’Malley, who grew up in Woodside, was a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, Company 1, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division (Rein) when on August 18, 1965 his regiment encountered enemy troops. He single-handedly attacked the Viet Cong with his rifle and grenades and led his squad to reinforce an adjacent unit and help the wounded. Although he was wounded three times in this encounter and faced imminent death, he steadfastly refused evacuation and continued to cover his squad's boarding of the helicopters while, from an exposed position, he delivered fire against the enemy until his wounded men were evacuated. Only then, with his last mission accomplished, did he permit himself to be removed from the battlefield.

For his bravery, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and was personally decorated by President Lyndon Johnson on December 6, 1966. In addition to the Medal of Honor, O’Malley holds the Purple Heart, the Navy Unit Commendation, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Star and the Vietnam Service Medal.

O’Malley is a member of American Legion Continental Post 1424. He currently lives with his family in Texas.

Maltese plans to designate a new Hall of Fame inductee each Veterans’ Day.

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