MARCHIN, Belgium -- U.S. Army Garrison Benelux Soldiers joined U.S. Embassy officials and many Belgians paid the ultimate tribute to World War II veteran Sergio Moirano during funeral services held in Marchin, east of Namur, Belgium, Aug. 3.The service was a mix of Belgian civilian protocol and U.S. military honors, as was the former service member's life.Moirano was born in Chicago, June 9, 1924, and joined the Army in 1943. Following his initial assignment at Fort Dix, New Jersey, he transferred to Camp Blanding, Florida. Moirano arrived in England in February 1944, joining the 357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division, and landed on Utah Beach on D-Day, just a few days before his 20th birthday.Despite constant gunfire, he kept moving toward the enemy during that legendary campaign. Experiencing moments when he knew he could die at any second, Moirano kept pushing on, fighting for his country.He fought in the hedgerow battles until he was wounded June 27 and sent to a hospital in the United Kingdom.Upon recovery, he rejoined his brothers-in-arms in the French Alsace on Nov. 22, 1944. The division then reached the Belgian Ardennes and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. After enduring weeks of terrible weather conditions, he suffered from frostbite and was medavaced to a hospital until the end of January 1945.After being assigned to the 518th Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Company in Liège and Huy, Belgium, Moirano met his wife-to-be Renée Grognard, from Marchin, Belgium. In April 1945, he was sent to Neuwied, Germany, and then transferred to the 920th Ordnance Base Depot Company in Woldeck.Because of frostbite, he was moved to Mitchell Field State Hospital in Paris and later to Halloran General Hospital, New York, before reuniting with his family and returning to civilian life.He and Renée married Dec. 6, 1947, in Long Branch, New Jersey, where they lived until 1972, before deciding to settle in Belgium, with Moirano working until his retirement in 1985.Moirano was often seen in the Belgian Ardennes during formal commemorations of the Battle of the Bulge.For his courage during World War II, Moirano received numerous military awards, including the Combat Infantryman Badge, the World War Two Victory Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the Purple Heart.In 2015, he received the French "Legion d'Honneur" (Legion of Honor) for his service in Normandy.
Moirano is survived by his wife Renée, their son and daughter, children and grandchildren, who are spread between Belgium and the United States.