World War II vet awarded Bronze Star

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A 91-year-old war veteran was recently awarded with the U.S. Army’s Bronze Star Medal.

Arno Heller, a former sniper in World War II, was honored by Congressmember Bob Turner in a ceremony for the Rego Park native on February 3.

“Mr. Heller is a prime example of a man who puts country before self,” Turner said. “As a private in the army, he rose to the occasion — putting his life on the line to defend his adopted homeland and the principles it stands for.”

Heller was awarded for his achievement in the Rhineland Campaign of 1944.

“It’s very emotional because, after all these years, sometimes I lie awake at night and a lot of memories come back. No bad memories. It’s been a terrific experience,” Heller said. “This means so much — I can hardly describe it… I am speechless.”

The event was held at American Legion Post 1424 in Forest Hills. Among those in attendance were Post Commander Tom Long, Major Charles Jaquillard of the Fort Hamilton Army Garrison in Brooklyn and Commissioner Terrance Holliday of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs.

“Private Heller joins an elite class of United States servicemen and women who exceed the call of duty to protect our nation and his or her fellow soldiers. Mr. Heller bravely defended his country and his brethren in arms, and today our nation says thank you,” Turner said.

The Bronze Star is a U.S. Armed Forces individual military decoration and the fourth highest award for bravery, heroism or meritorious service. It is the ninth highest military award, including both combat and non-combat.