Just days before Veterans Day, a 94-year-old Providence native and World War II veteran received long overdue medals and public recognition for his combat experience above the Italy more than seven decades ago.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed, the Ranking Member of the Armed services Committee and a graduate of Wests Point, held a special ceremony for Mr. Benjamin Sebastian Carbone and his family to present him with medals he earned for his distinguished service during World War II.
During the November 9th ceremony, Carbone received several medals and awards, including: the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Bronze Star & Silver Star Attachment; World War II Victory Medal; Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII; Good Conduct medal; Marksmanship Badge & Rifle Bar; and the Army Aviation Badge Basic.
“Every Rhode Islander who answered the call to serve in World War II and fulfilled their duty with honor and distinction, as Mr. Carbone did, is a hero in my book. They may not be household names, but they have earned their place in history. We simply can’t thank them enough,” said Reed, in a statement announcing the special presentation of medals.
Completing 50 Combat Missions Over Italy
Mr. Carbone joined the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1943 at the age of 19. He served as a Staff Sergeant in the 15th Air Force, 98th Bomb Group, 344 Squadron in Lecce, Italy, and completed 50 combat missions as a ball turret gunner on a B-24 aircraft, a long-range bomber known as “the Liberator,” by the time he was 20 years old. As a ball turret gunner, Staff Sgt. Carbone was charged with protecting the plane from enemy fighter aircraft and operated out of a cramped glass bubble jutting out of the plane with two .50 caliber machine guns.
When presenting the medals Reed expressed his gratitude for Carbone’s faithful service. “We are so grateful to him and his fellow airmen. They continue to inspire us and their contributions to our nation will not be forgotten,” said Rhode Island’s senior Senator.
After being honorably discharged from the service on October 25, 1945 Carbone began his life-long career as a Master Plumber where he started a company with his brother called the “Carbone Brothers.” After ten years, he was approached to become the Plumbing Inspector for the City of Providence, a job he held for 25 years, finally retiring in 1985.
He was married to the late Carolina Carbone for 64 years and has two children: Sharon and Steve; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren
Carbone has shared with Cranston students about what life was like during World War II, speaking to classes at Cranston West and Hope Highlands schools.
Helping Veterans Cut the Red Tape
Senator Reed works with veterans, families, and caregivers to ensure our veterans receive all the benefits they have earned and can help veterans cut through red tape and access their files through the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). The NPRC does not make the awards as that is determined by the concerned branch of service, but the Rhode Island Senator’s office can work with the NPRC to determine if there are records or evidence of awards won, verify these awards, and then coordinate with the specific branch of the military in which the veteran served to obtain the medals.
For more information on how Senator Reed’s office can assist veterans in tracking down the service medals they are eligible for or replace medals that were lost or stolen, please call: (401) 943-3100.