William Francis Tedesco, 91, of Portsmouth, RI, passed away on December 25th, 2019, at Newport Hospital. Born on October 2nd, 1928, in Jersey City, NJ, William was son to the late Peter Tedesco and the late Margaret Beatrice Henderson. He was the husband of the late Dorothea Morgan (McGrade) Tedesco.
William graduated from Kingston High School in ‘46, and then the United States Navy Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, IL, on October 31st, 1947, as a Hospital Apprentice Second Class. He was stationed as US Naval Hospital staff in Annapolis, MD.
In 1948 William began a detached duty with the Fleet Marines in Guam and was promoted to Hospital Corpsman Third Class. Two years later in 1950, from September 5th to October 2nd, he served with the Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, in the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. His unit spearheaded the drive in the Hamhung area, forced to fight against overwhelming odds. During the height of their battle against swarming Chinese Reds, William fearlessly and courageously braved the field, exposing himself repeatedly to accurate and intense enemy small arms, machine gun & mortar fire in order to administer aid to the wounded. He retrieved those soldiers who’d suffered mortar shell wounds and sheltered them in a straw-thatched house. William prioritized the wounded over his own personal safety, greatly contributing to saving many lives and inspiring the men of his Company. In recognition of his courage, William’s parents attended a ceremony held to honor him at St. Alban’s Naval Hospital of Long Island, where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for acts of heroism in action against the enemy. He was also stationed at the hospital staff’s personnel office, and received a promotion to Hospital Corpsman Second Class.
William was presented with a cross for his conspicuous service on May 6th, 1952, by the Governor of the state of New York and the Commander-in-Chief of Military and Naval Forces of Albany, NY. He served in Vietnam during the war, assigned to Danang Hospital’s mass casualty receiving center, and performed medical duties aboard small craft. Other military experience includes being assigned to a jet night fighter squadron in Atlantic City, NJ; serving with the Sixth Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune, NC; and serving with the Fifth Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton.
After 23 years in his career & 3 tours of duty as a Marine medic, January 16th 1970 saw William Francis Tedesco promoted to Chief Petty Officer at Oswego Naval Reserve Training Center. As a veteran with many years of experience, he scored exceptionally high on a Navy-wide exam and came out on top. William was presented with the Chief’s Hat during ceremonies by his commanding officer, Lt. John Gifford. By this point he holds three Presidential Unit Citations for his service with the Marines, in addition to his Korean Presidential Citation, the Naval Unit Citation, the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross, seven Good Conduct awards, the United Nations Medal, the Occupation Medal of Europe, and the Korean Medal with three Battle Stars. He has also received the Vietnam Service Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Medal.
William is survived by his children William J. Tedesco & wife Cheryl, Richard Tedesco & wife Ana, both of Tiverton, RI, along with Dorothea (Tedesco) Cruz & husband Angel of Florida. He is also survived by nine grandchildren.
Visiting hours will be held on Friday, January 17th, 2020, from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, at the Connors Funeral Home, 55 West Main Road, Portsmouth.
A graveside service with military honors will take place at Portsmouth Cemetery on the morning of Saturday, January 18th, 2020, at 10 AM.