FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Within the halls of Bastogne Memorial Chapel in 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division Aug. 25, young Soldiers held on to every word of Bastogne legend Vincent Speranza.
Speranza served in the historic 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment as a machine gunner in WWII, to include within the brigade’s nickname Bastogne, during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. He gave the brigade a personal account of his childhood, volunteering for service at 18 years old and his actions during the war.
The leadership lessons and his story was nothing less than inspiring to all present. Sgt. Vincent Cadena from 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT, 101st Abn. Div. (Air Assault), can attest to that inspiration.
“It was very enlightening for him to sign my book. I don’t have many heroes like sports stars, but hearing him speak he’s officially my hero,” said Cadena.
Speranza stated that he does not like anything more than sharing his experiences with the troops. He has a lot to share and was very emphatic and entertaining while imparting knowledge on the unit. His final message left the unit ready to accomplish anything.
“The attitude of a Soldier makes the difference in combat. Even when you’re absolutely positive you can’t take anymore … you can,” said Speranza.
Those words touched every Soldier in the room. Sgt. Jose Rodriguez from 1st Squadron 32nd Cavalry was especially motivated after hearing Speranza.
“Very memorable. He joined the Army at 18 years old like me. It’s a real honor to meet a gem like him to our country and our Army,” Rodriguez said.
This engagement developed every leader and will be cherished by the brigade.