William Paladino HHS 1966 Grad Photo
William "Bill" Paladino
Hackensack High School
Yearbook Photo


(Information below was taken from a classroom interview and interpreted by a Web Design II student)

After his graduation in 1966, Bill Paladino spent two years at Miami Dade Junior College before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. He was an M.O.S. 0311 Rifleman and often carried and operated the radio because of his education. Within the first two weeks of his tour, there was an error in communication between the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Army. This led to a United States Army helicopter opening fire on Mr. Paladino's company passing through Pagoda Valley in Vietnam. Bill and many others were wounded, and several others were killed. This is known as "friendly fire," when people of allied forces mistake allies for enemies and attempt to harm or kill them. Although he was wounded and nearly killed by the attack, he saved his life and the lives of other Marines by tossing a smoke grenade to signal to the helicopter. Being wounded in war makes military personnel eligible for the Purple Heart medal. However, since Mr. Paladino's wounds were not enemy-inflicted, he did not receive a medal. Mr. Paladino returned to action the very next day and he continued his tour of duty.

In the last month of his tour, he was wounded again during a night mission on the Ho Chi Minh Trail when a tripwire was set off and a piece of metal shrapnel hit Bill Paladino in the back of the neck. For this wound, he received the Purple Heart medal. Corporal Paladino was allowed to return home six months before his tour of duty was set to end. He received an honorable discharge. However, due to the unpopularity of the war, he was often disrespected at home by people who had Anti-War opinions. He was spit on and wrongly accused of "killing civilians" by his own neighbors.

Bill Paladino has said that the hardest part of war is constantly being afraid for your life, along with the poor living conditions. He sympathizes with the soldiers overseas and can relate to the difficulties of being at war and away from home.

Background image of Marine Corps. Patch obtained from: