For Felix Lisovich, the flood of memories from his days as a combat medic surgical technician tending to wounded soldiers fighting in the Philippines during World War II came back Tuesday.
Lisovich was awarded the Order of Military Medical Merit and the Regimental Honor Certificate before about 70 family members and friends during ceremonies at the American Legion Post 659 of North Belle Vernon. U.S. Army Surgeon Gen. Lt.. Gen. Nadja Y. West sent him a letter of recognition.
“I stand her today because of giants like you. You are the picture of the soldier of the Army we want to be,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg from the Office of the U.S. Army Surgeon General. Lisovich is one of the reasons why Amy medicine “has a magnificent history,” Gragg said.
Lisovich is a survivor not only of his combat in World War II, but of the inevitable aging process. Less than 500,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in the military during World War II were alive in 2018 and that number is expected to drop below 400,000 this year, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Lisovich is one of only about 26,340 Pennsylvanians in the war who still were alive last year.
Lisovich’s recognition 74 years after war ended was due, in part, to Col. Brain Bender, a childhood friend of Lisovich’s granddaughter, Noelle O’Bryan of Canonsburg. O’Bryan said Bender, a fellow Belle Vernon Area High School graduate, saw Facebook postings of Lisovich’s 95th birthday and mention of his role as a combat medic in World War II. From there, Bender got the ball rolling for the recognition that Lisovich received, O’Bryan said.
The Order of Military Medical Merit , a private organization founded by the U.S. Army Health Services Command in 1982, is bestowed upon only 10 percent of Army medics, Gragg said. The order denotes distinguished service and is given to those who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character. The recipient receives the honor only if a panel of judges votes unanimously that the person is worthy of the honor, Gragg said.
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