Vince was born March 23, 1925 to Frank and Frances Speranza in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. He grew up on Statten Island in a large and extended Italian family during the Great Depression.
After graduating high school, he was drafted into the United States Army on October 25, 1943 and officially entered the service on November 15, 1943. He was sent to Camp Upton in New York where he stayed until he was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia to train with the 87th Infantry Division. He volunteered for the Parachute Infantry and was sent back to Fort Benning for further training. Shortly after, he was sent overseas with Company H, 3rd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division from Camp Shanks on board the Queen Mary.
His unit arrived in France and he would later fight in the "Battle of the Bulge," December 1944. He engaged in his first firefight against German forces in freezing temperatures. That year, was the coldest winter in decades. Vincent was a machine gunner during the historic battle, earning him the nickname "Curse and Traverse" Speranza. The "Battle of the Bulge" resulted in the highest number of American casualties of any operation during WWII.
His awards include:
Combat Infantryman Badge
2 Bronze Star Medals
2 Purple Hearts
Army Good Conduct Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 2 Stars
World War II Victory Medal
French Croix de Guerrre
Legion of Honour
Presidential Unit Citation with Oak leaf cluster
Vince returned home and married Iva Leftwich in 1948. They would go on to have two daughters and a son. Iva passed away on March 6, 2017. Speranza taught U.S. history in the New York City schools for over twenty years until he retired in Auburn, Illinois.
Today, Vincent travels all around the world sharing his war stories in hopes of reminding citizens of the value of freedom and the importance of leadership under adversity. In May 2021, Speranza led the Honor Ride 2021, a cross-country endeavor and tribute to all service members. Speranza and Super Hero character LT Williams' POW/MIA steel wings from the Purple Foxes United story traveled throughout the country spreading patriotism while sharing inspirational stories.
After Speranza paid his respects to our fallen Vietnam War veterans, he continued to "Pass the Torch" to the next generation of veterans at the Wall on Terror in Marseilles, Illinois - Memorial Day 2021.
The "Pass the Torch" project and documentary is sponsored by PRAESIDUS, the creators of "The Battle of the Bulge" commemorative watch honoring Vincent J. Speranza's service.
To learn more about Speranza's memories of the war, you can read them in his book called NUTS! available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Airborne-Division-Machine-Gunner-Bastogne/dp/1941165516 (You may request additional signed books by Vincent J. Speranza via Facebook)
Speranza is also highlighted in the documentary LIBERTAS (Normandy Jump 2019) FREE on Amazon Prime: https://www.amazon.com/Libertas-Anniversary-D-Day-Tom-Rice/dp/B07YQ9S75D