VA hospital to be renamed in honor of Philly war hero Michael Crescenz

 Philadelphia Veterans Hospital will be renamed for  West Oak Lane war hero Cpl. Michael Crescenz.(AP Photo/Bradley C. Bower)

Philadelphia Veterans Hospital will be renamed for West Oak Lane war hero Cpl. Michael Crescenz.(AP Photo/Bradley C. Bower)

The Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center will be renamed after an unsung hero of the Vietnam War.

Cpl. Michael Crescenz was the only Philadelphian to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for fighting in the conflict.

On Nov. 20, 1968, just months into his tour, Crescenz’s unit was ambushed by North Vietnamese forces in Quang Nam Province.

The 19-year-old from West Oak Lane died after charging up a hill with a machine gun and silencing three enemy bunkers. He’s credited with saving the lives of several comrades in the process.

“When faced with some headwinds, he didn’t cower in a corner somewhere, so he was almost a ‘Rocky’-slash-Joe Frazierlike Philadelphian,” said U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, who introduced the legislation honoring Crescenz nearly two years ago.

President Barack Obama signed the bill making it official.

It’s unclear when the West Philadelphia facility will be renamed. When that happens, Joe Crescenz, Michael’s younger brother, will be proud beyond belief.

“I just can’t believe that my brother’s name will be on that façade. It’s surreal.” he said. “This means a lot to the living Vietnam veteran that, ‘hey one of their own is finally getting recognized.”

President Nixon posthumously awarded Crescenz the Medal of Honor in 1970.

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