Lockport WWII veteran receives high school diploma 73 years after draft

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

LOCKPORT, Ill. (WLS) -- A World War II veteran, born and raised in southwest suburban Lockport, was presented his high school diploma more than 70 years after he had to leave school to serve his country.

Ronald Pesavento, 92, received his diploma at a special ceremony on Dec. 19, the school said on its Facebook page. His children Tony and Melissa, were there to witness his well-earned accomplishment.

Pesavento, or "Reno" as he is known to family and friends, was born in Lockport in 1924. His parents, Italian immigrants, sent him to Sacred Heart School and Lockport Township High School.

On May 18, 1943, Pesavento was drafted to fight in WWII. He completed basic training at Camp Roberts in California and spent time in the Mohave Desert and in Hilo, Hawaii, before serving with the 819th Tank Destroyer Battalion, Company "A" as a cannoneer, radio operator and assistant driver, the school said. He was honorably discharged on Jan. 20, 1946.

The 819th Battalion was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon with one Bronze Star for participation in Western Pacific Campaign. Pesavento also received a Good Conduct Medal and a WWII Victory Medal and was considered an expert marksman with a .30-caliber carbine, the school said.

Pesavento and his wife, Laura Cullen, settled in Lockport. He worked as an operating engineer with Local 150 until he retired in 1989.

Congratulations, Mr. Pesavento!