Gardner, Massachusetts, US
United States Army
SSGT, C CO, 75TH INFANTRY, 173RD ABN BDE,
Binh Dinh Province, South Vietnam, 07/06/1969
Nearly 40 years after her husband died in the Vietnam War, Kathleen Cardona will finally see him recognized for his service. On Sunday, U.S. Rep. Joseph D. Courtney, D-2nd District, will present Cardona with Vietnam-era service medals in honor of her late husband Ronald Cardona’s service during the war. The couple had been married just six months when Cardona was killed in action in Vietnam in 1968.
The ceremony takes place at 2 p.m. at the American Legion Post 14, located at 114 West St. Courtney will be joined in the ceremony by American Legion Post 14 Commander Eric Molitoris and other dignitaries.
Kathleen married Ronald, a U.S. Army Airborne Ranger, in December 1968 against the wishes of her parents and just prior to his deployment to Vietnam. He was killed in action six months later, and his military records were never updated to reflect his marriage. As a result, Kathleen never received the medals Ronald had earned or the survivor benefits she was entitled to as a military widow because the Defense Department refused to correct its records and recognize the marriage. Courtney’s advocacy, however, resulted in the Defense Department’s finally recognizing the marriage. The department announced in August that Ronald’s records had been corrected.
Vernon police, South Windsor police, and the American Legion Riders will escort Kathleen from her home to America Legion Post 14 for the ceremony Sunday. The medal presentation will feature a military honor guard, including a bugler from the 102nd Army Band who will perform Taps and sing the National Anthem, and a flyover by four Connecticut National Guard helicopters in the missing man formation.