Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Thomas

Last Name: Vitagliano


Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: E.

Date of Birth:

Date of Death: 17 January 2005

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served:
Thomas E. Vitagliano

•  Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) (2003 - 2011)


Thomas E. Vitagliano
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army

Thomas E. Vitagliano went to Notre Dame High School in West Haven, CT, until his sophomore year, then transferred to a military school. He subsequently joined the U.S. Marine Corps. After his discharge, he worked in the civilian industry briefly before returning to service in the U.S. Army.

On 17 January 2005, then-Staff Sergeant Thomas E. Vitagliano was serving Company C, 1st Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On that day, SSG Vitagliano’s unit was engaged in combat action against enemy forces when he saved the lives of two of his Soldiers by placing himself between the Soldiers and the blast of an explosive-laden taxi. SSG Vitagliano’s selfless, courageous actions that day earned him, at the cost of his life, the U.S. Army's third highest award for valor, the Silver Star Medal.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Silver Star Medal
Purple Heart
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal with Bronze Star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army NCO Professional Development Ribbon
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon
Combat Infantryman Badge
Parachutist Badge

Silver Star Medal Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Staff Sergeant Thomas E. Vitagliano, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company C, 1st Battalion, 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2d Brigade Combat Team, 2d Infantry Division, during combat operations in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, on 17 January 2005, in Iraq. On that date, Staff Sergeant Vitagliano saved two of his Soldiers' lives by selflessly placing himself between the Soldiers and the blast of an explosive-laden taxi. His heroic actions are in keeping with the highest standards of selfless service and reflect great credit upon himself, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment, Multi-National Corps Iraq, and the United States Army.


Staff Sergeant Thomas E. Vitagliano is buried at Saint Lawrence Cemetery in West Haven, New Haven County, CT.


Honoree ID: 5013   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image