Ben Cascio grew up in Palisades Park, New Jersey. He attended elementary school in Palisades Park and was the last class to graduate from LHS in 1959. Shortly after his graduation, Mr. Cascio enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.
A first generation American, who came from a hardworking Italian family, Mr. Cascio became an Marine Corps officer and helicopter pilot. As a UH-34 pilot, Mr. Cascio flew 850 combat missions in Northern Vietnam. The last of which was on April 28, 1968.
During the early morning hours, Captain Cascio launched as the Section Leader of a flight of two UH-34 transport helicopters assigned on an emergency medical evacuation mission in Quang Tri Province. After arriving over the designated area, Captain Cascio was informed that Marines had recently broken contact with a large North Vietnamese Army force and the landing zone was unsecure. Undaunted by the hazardous situation, he skillfully maneuvered his helicopter into the landing zone.
While the casualties were being embarked, the helicopter came under hostile fire. It was at this moment that Captain Cascio was seriously wounded and the aircraft sustained extensive battle damage. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, he relinquished command of helicopter to his co-pilot. Ignoring his painful injury and blindness, Captain Cascio rapidly contacted the escort helicopter and informed the pilot of their precarious situation. Throughout the flight to a secure landing zone, Captain Cascio constantly offered words of encouragement to his inexperienced co-pilot. His heroic and timely actions were instrumental in saving the lives of several Marines.
As a result of his injuries, Captain Cascio was discharged from the United States Marines. For his courage, exceptional aeronautical ability, and devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger, Captain Cascio was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Silver Star.
After returning from the war, Cascio went to law school using the G.I. Bill and became a lawyer. His law offices are in Franklin Lakes. He has also remained actively involved with his Vietnam flying unit, called the Ugly Angel Squadron. He is a Veteran Helicopter Restorer, and continues to fly planes during special occasions in the spring and summer months.
Thank you for your service, Mr. Cascio!
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The Division of Veterans Services was established in 1977 to provide resident veterans and their dependents with information and assistance in obtaining earned entitlements from federal, state, and local governments, as well as any that are available from the private sector.
Through a quarterly newsletter and direct client contact, the division provides Bergen’s veterans organizations and their auxiliaries and individual residents with up-to-date benefit information.