Staff Sgt. Kevin T. Scarpino, of Port Clinton, enlisted in the U.S. Army in Tiffin in 2003. He will be receiving the Army Commendation Medal with "V" device for valor Friday from the Ohio Military Hall of Fame.
Scarpino was a gunner for Task Force Iron Claw during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
During a rocket-propelled grenade attack, Scarpino provided crew with weapon support from his vehicle; his actions on that day enabled the vehicle to be repaired and return to the mission, according to a citation provided by Ted Mosure, member of the hall's board of directors.
Staff Sgt. Kevin Scarpino is to be inducted into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame for his service in the U.S. Army in Iraq.
Scarpino was able to protect his men and successfully clear improvised explosive devices from thousands of miles of road, the citation stated.
"I enlisted because my country needed me. It felt like the right thing to do and I am proud that I enlisted when I did," Scarpino said.
Scarpino works for Camp Perry Joint Training Center in Port Clinton, where he is a range operations specialist.
"The day was like any other day in Iraq; it was hot and, for the most part, tiring. The action occurred at the end of our mission, where I thought nothing was going to happen, but then there was a loud explosion and we received enemy fire. I was a machine gunner for the convoy and immediately returned fire until our convoy was out of the danger area. My adrenaline was pumping and it was quite a unique experience to be part
of this type of action," Scarpino said.
"There was nothing that I would change or do differently. I did exactly what I was trained to do and without hesitation," he said.
Scarpino has three dogs: two boxer-black lab mixes named Cash and Murphy and a female pug-beagle mix named Havok.
In his free time, Scarpino said he loves to fish, shoot and hang out with friends and family. Also, he said he is one class away from getting a bachelor's degree in information technology from Franklin University.
"I also spend a lot of time updating and upgrading my house that I bought in 2008. That seems like a never-ending job," he said.
"Anything I can do to enjoy life, I will do," Scarpino said. "I like to watch TV or read a book and enjoy the simple things in life."
Scarpino has not been out of the country since Iraq but has traveled to multiple training sites around the United States for his job, including Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Alabama and Texas.
Scarpino will be among other Ohioans being inducted into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame for Valor.
"It is an honor and privilege to receive this medal. To be nominated was remarkable, but to be accepted is truly something special," he said. "I look forward to the induction ceremony and everything associated with it."
"I just want to thank my family, friends and my girlfriend, Tiffany, for putting up with all the birthdays, anniversaries and special moments that I missed due to my service. It is a shame, but it was something I knew going into the service, but I wouldn't change a thing," he said.
The number of inductees is 218; five have received the Medal of Honor.
Other commendations being presented are the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal.
The ceremony is open to the public and will take place in Veterans Plaza at the Ohio Statehouse, starting at 11:30 a.m. Gov. John Kasich and other dignitaries are scheduled to participate in the event, according to the release.