About the Author

Joseph Michael Belardo was born June 21, 1947, in Plainfield, New Jersey, to Joseph and Mary (DelliPoali) Belardo.  Joe has one sister, Brenda (Ribar).  He attended the South Plainfield school system and graduated from the North Jersey School of Design Engineering.

Joe’s medals include the Bronze Star w/Valor, Purple Hearts, Army Presidential Unit Citation, Army Valorous Unit Award, Army Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy (Marine) Presidential Unit Citation, Navy (Marine) Meritorious Unit Commendation, Marine Combat Action Ribbon, The Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm and The Republic of Vietnam Civil Action, Medal.

Joe and his crew of Duster C131 hold the distinct honor of being the last to leave the finally abandoned Khe Sanh Combat Base.  Joe was discharged in August 1968 with the rank of Sergeant E5.

Joe married Nancy (Painton) on December 7, 1968.  They have three children:  Mary, Joe Jr., and Patrick and four grandchildren.

He has been inducted into the Order of the Four Chaplains and his High School Hall of Fame.  Joe has received the State of New Jersey’s Distinguished Service Medal and the State’s Vietnam Service Recognition Medal.

Joe is very active in the Dusters, Quads, and Searchlights Association; Purple Hearts; Vietnam Veterans of America; Veterans of Foreign War; American Legion; and Disabled American Veterans.  He is a past trustee of the New Jersey Vietnam Memorial and Education Foundation.  Joe was an original member of Victims of Agent Orange, the predecessor of the first Agent Orange Commission.

His hobbies are fishing and bird watching.  Joe is the founder of Support Systems, a custom metal fabrication company.  He resides in South Plainfield, NJ.