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Vincent Speranza didn’t waste any time after graduating high school in 1943. As soon as he finished, he joined the Army and became a paratrooper. Not long after he completed training, he was sent to Belgium with Company H, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. He and his fellow soldiers were in a foxhole in Bastogne, freezing and running out of supplies. They were also surrounded by German troops, but they managed to repel them through each and every attack. On the second day, one of his friends was wounded badly, with shrapnel in both legs. There was no hospital to take him to, so the troops made do with a nearby church that became their combat hospital.


Speranza found his friend, who asked him to get him something to drink. The unit was surrounded, and their supplies were running out… so his friend suggested that he check a nearby tavern. Miraculously, one of the beer taps was still working. So Speranza improvised, and he filled his helmet with beer, going back and forth between the tavern and the church to bring beer to the wounded troops. Now, all these years later, Speranza is still a legend. In fact, his story has even been immortalized with Belgium’s Airborne beer… served from a ceramic helmet.

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