99-Year-Old WWII Veteran Still Carries Memories Of The War, And Still Values A Hard Day’s Work

Bartholomew “Bennie” Ficeto was just 19 when he joined the Army Air Corps as an enlisted air crewman. He flew missions over North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Sardinia as a radio operator, and gave the Germans hell as a top turret gunner on B-25 “Mitchell” bomber.

“As a child, I idolized him and asked him about his experiences in the war,” Ficeto’s nephew, Brendan Dullaghan told The Veterans Site. “He would never want to talk about it. After I returned from Operation Desert Storm, he viewed me as a fellow veteran and told me stories so harrowing and tragic about some of the missions with his unit that had us both watery-eyed.”

Bartholomew “Bennie” Ficeto was just 19 when he joined the Army Air Corps as an enlisted air crewman.
Source: YouTube/NBC New York
Bartholomew “Bennie” Ficeto was just 19 when he joined the Army Air Corps as an enlisted air crewman.

Dullaghan served as a combat medic assigned to the 365th EVAC Hospital between November 1990 and April 1991. He saw his own share of traumatic events, the tragic eventuality of war, but will never forget the stories his uncle shared.

Even as the WWII veteran approaches 100 years old, some of those memories have never lost their sting. The one mission Ficeto was sidelined from because of illness, for example, left a mark that hasn’t faded with age.

Bennie was working part time as a grocery bagger at his local supermarket when he turned 98.
Source: YouTube/NBC New York
Bennie was working part time as a grocery bagger at his local supermarket when he turned 98.

“The one mission he didn’t go on because he had a sinus infection (I think), his aircraft was shot down and the whole crew were killed,” Dullaghan said. “His commanding officer and all his buddies died that day but because he couldn’t fly at altitude with his illness, he didn’t. It still pains him to this day.”

Bennie has shared his war stories with his nephew, Brendan Dullaghan.
Source: YouTube/NBC New York
Bennie has shared his war stories with his nephew, Brendan Dullaghan.

Ficeto more recently made headlines when he turned 98, still working two four-hour shifts per week bagging groceries for people at the Stop & Shop store in Edison, New Jersey. Ficeto’s boss, Sal Marconi, wanted to honor the venerated veteran’s service. Marconi had a special cake made and presented it to Ficeto while USO singers provided accompaniment from a back catalog of 1940s favorites.

This veteran is nearly 100, and still values a hard day's work!
Source: YouTube/NBC New York
This veteran is nearly 100, and still values a hard day’s work!

Not one to be caught leaning, Ficeto works through his breaks at the Stop & Shop. His coworkers actually had to interrupt his work to surprise him with the party.

“Bennie’s got a great sense of humor,” Marconi told CBS News after the party. “He loves his job. He’s a great inspiration and morale booster for everyone else.”

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