REDLANDS, Calif. (KABC) -- Decades after he served during World War II, a former U.S. Army soldier was recognized posthumously for his heroic efforts.
Nicholas Robolino's family accepted the Congressional Gold Medal on his behalf. Robolino served in the United States Army Air Corps during the war. He posthumously received the award for his involvement in a secret operation that helped put an end to World War II.
"Mr. Robolino worked on radar equipment and helped maintain a fleet of all black unmarked B-24 bombers that flew below detection and over France to support the allied mission of defeating the Nazi force in Europe," said Congressman Pete Aguilar.
During a ceremony on Friday at the VA Ambulatory Care Center in Redlands, Robolino's son accepted the medal on behalf of his father who passed away in 2012.
"Dad never spoke about what he did in the military. I came to find out later on for the army it is MOS, which was kind of avionics - radar. Later on when I enlisted, I had the same AFSD," said Dominic Robolino.
Robolino's father was a member of the 492nd Bombardment Group, which went by the code name "The Carpetbaggers." The unit was part of the Office of Strategic Services, the United States' first spy agency. Robolino and his crew were tasked with dropping supplies and agents behind enemy lines.
"I found out he was in radar technology, which back then was really classified," said Robolino.
The mission was so secret, it was only recently declassified. The operation is credited with ending the war two years earlier and helping to defeat the Nazis.
"I get choked up. I was really surprised. It was, I really didn't know what he did and it was like 'Wow,'" Robolino said.