“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Scranton in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Medal of Honor

Gino J. Merli and Joseph R. Sarnoski

Medal of Honor Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 27, 2015
1. Medal of Honor Marker
Center panel
Medal of Honor, the highest decoration for gallantry in action while serving in the United States Armed Forces. This medal was awarded to these two recipients from Lackawanna County for action during World War II.

Dedicated June 6, 1997

Left panel
Merli, Gino J.-Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Sars la Bruyere, Belgium, 45 September 1944 •Entered service at: Peckville, Pa. Birth-Scranton PA. G.O. No.: 64, 4 August 1945. Citation: He was serving as a machine gunner in the vicinity of Sars la Bruyere, Belgium, on the night of 45 September 1944, when his company was attacked by a superior German force. Its position was overrun and he was surrounded when our troops were driven back by overwhelming numbers and firepower. Disregarding the fury of the enemy fire concentrated on him he maintained his position, covering the withdrawal of our riflemen and breaking the force of the enemy pressure. His assistant machine gunner was killed and the position captured; the other 8 members of the section were forced to surrender. Pfc.

Medal of Honor Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 27, 2015
2. Medal of Honor Marker
This marker is on the right side of the two Medal of Honor markers.
Merli slumped down beside the dead assistant gunner and feigned death. No sooner had the enemy group withdrawn then he was up and firing in all directions. Once more his position was taken and the captors found 2 apparently lifeless bodies. Throughout the night Pfc. Merli stayed at his weapon. By daybreak the enemy had suffered heavy losses, and as our troops launched an assault, asked for a truce. Our negotiating party, who accepted the German surrender, found Pfc. Merli still at his gun. On the battlefield lay 52 enemy dead, 19 of whom were directly in front of the gun. Pfc. Merli's gallantry and courage, and the losses and confusion that he caused the enemy, contributed materially to our victory.

Right panel
*Sarnoski, Joseph R. (Air Mission)Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 43rd Bomber Group. Place and date: Over Buka Area, Solomon Islands, 16 June 1943. Entered service at: Simpson, Pa. Born: 30 January 1915. G.O. No.: 85, 17 December 1943 Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. On 16 June 1943, 2d Lt. Sarnoski volunteered as bombardier of a crew on an important photographic mapping mission covering the heavily defended Buka area, Solomon Islands. When the mission was nearly completed, about 20 enemy fighters intercepted. At the nose guns, 2d Lt. Sarnoski fought off the first

Lackawanna County Courthouse image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 27, 2015
3. Lackawanna County Courthouse
attackers, making it possible for the pilot to finish the plotted course. When a coordinated frontal attack by the enemy extensively damaged his bomber, and seriously injured 5 of the crew, 2d Lt. Sarnoski, though wounded, continued firing and shot down 2 enemy planes. A 20-millimeter shell which burst in the nose of the bomber knocked him into the catwalk under the cockpit. With indomitable fighting spirit, he crawled back to his post and kept on firing until he collapsed on his guns. 2d Lt. Sarnoski by resolute defense of his aircraft at the price of his life, made possible the completion of a vitally important mission.
Erected 1997.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Medal of Honor Recipients marker series.
Location. 41° 24.486′ N, 75° 39.786′ W. Marker is in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in Lackawanna County. Marker is on North Washington Avenue. The marker is on the grounds of the Lackawanna County Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Scranton PA 18503, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Medal of Honor (here, next to this marker); Lackawanna County (within shouting distance of this marker); William McKinley (within shouting
Gino J. Merli grave marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 28, 2015
4. Gino J. Merli grave marker
He is buried in Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery, Finch PA. The grave GPS coordinates are N41.6122 W75.5581
distance of this marker); First Rite Aid Corporation Drugstore (within shouting distance of this marker); Pearl Harbor Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Vietnam War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Piazza dell' Arte (within shouting distance of this marker); General Thaddeus Kosciuszko (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Scranton.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Categories. War, World II
Joseph R. Sarnoski grave marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, November 11, 2008
5. Joseph R. Sarnoski grave marker
He is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Section A, Grave 582, Honolulu HI.

More. Search the internet for Medal of Honor.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 1, 2019. This page originally submitted on September 30, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 233 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 30, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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