Retired Staff Sgt. Biagio Sciscione was drafted on September 22, 1942 to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II. A man in his early 20s at the time, Sciscione traveled throughout the South Pacific, spending time in Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines during his nearly four years of service.
Now approaching his 95th birthday in June, Sciscione attended his first New Jersey Devils game on March 29, when the team invited him to be celebrated as the Hero of the Game at Prudential Center. A longtime fan who named one of his dogs “Marty” after legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur, Sciscione was humbled and appreciative to be celebrated at the game. “From the bottom of my heart, I feel great that somebody’s honoring me,” the veteran said.
Sciscione explained that while he has watched many games on TV, he had not made it to The Rock because of his limited mobility. In a wheelchair, Sciscione said an arena full of fans can be difficult to navigate.
Before making it to Prudential Center, Sciscione said he had watched many memorable Devils moments with his family, such as Adam Henrique’s goal in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals and Martin Brodeur’s 552nd win.
The veteran counts Kyle Palmieri as his favorite player on the team, but borrowed a Jamie Langenbrunner jersey from one of his grandchildren.
During his years of service, Sciscione received a number of awards, including the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Bronze Arrowhead Victory Medal, and the Philippine Liberation Medal. “I made all the Islands in the Philippines,” Sciscione explained as he recalled those years. Sciscione said the award for his service in the Philippines was special because of the time he spent there helping liberate the islands from Japanese aggression. The veteran also received the Good Conduct Medal for what he described as being well behaved. “They didn’t have any problems with me, I did my job,” he said.
After returning from the war, Sciscione went back behind the counter. “I worked all my life as a butcher, a meat cutter, and I had my own place in Elizabeth.” After many years, Sciscione said he had to sell the business when back issues meant he could no longer do the heavy lifting.
While Sciscione may no longer work in food preparation, he passes on his knowledge to his family. When someone is going pick up meat for dinner, he said he advises relatives on what to buy. Asked what his secret advice was, Sciscione said to always buy filet mignon. “You’ve got to get the best there is; prime. Always prime,” he said.
Those same members of his family joined Sciscione for the game, including three of his eight grandchildren. “It was amazing, just to see all of the fans cheering for him,” grandson Victor DeFilippo said. “We have a big family and told everyone to record it.”