World War II Veteran and Battle of the Bulge Survivor Richard Rizzio Passes Away at 93

Decorated World War II Veteran Richard Rizzio Sr. passed away Sunday at the age of 93.

The Army veteran was one of the last living survivors of the Battle of the Bulge.

He called Traverse City home for nearly 30 years, before moving downstate last year to be closer to family.

“[He was] just a shining light for all of us to follow. We get out of life pretty much what we put into it, he put 100 percent in and he got as much out of it back, I’m sure,” VFW Cherryland Post 2780 Member John Milks, said.

Richard Rizzio was as tough as they come.

At 18 years-old he joined the U.S. Army, soon after, he was fighting Nazis in what would become one of the deadliest battles in American history.

He spoke with 9&10 news in 2017.

“Was real fortunate to be assigned to General Patton’s Third Army. Went through four major campaigns, Battle of the Bulge being the big one,” Rizzio, said.

“I went out and checked one of the gun lines because one of our M7s was not receiving commands. Went out there and the Germans started to fire at us,” Rizzio recalled. “I had one go right under me and apparently it never went off, we didn’t stick around long enough to find out.”

For his heroism, Rizzio was awarded the Silver Star, given for “Gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.”

“The man went through everything in World War II, in the European theater,” Milks said.

Richard leaves behind not just a legacy on the battlefield but in a community where he was fixture for many years.

“I was just amazed and impressed with his stamina and his strength and his will to do it. As I got to know Richard a little bit more over the years, well he reflected that in all that he did, he was very active in American legion and Coalition anytime we had special services, he was always there,” Milks, explained.

And his presence will be impossible to replace.

“It’s with great sadness that Traverse City will have to say good bye to Richard Rizzio,” Milks, added.