Biography details life and legacy of Vietnam War hero

Biography details life and legacy of Vietnam War hero

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Most military biographies naturally focus on the soldier being profiled. But anyone connected to the Army knows that no soldier serves alone. The full story of any soldier includes the wider world of friends, family, and community.

No Greater Love: The Story of Michael Crescenz, Philadelphia’s Only Medal of Honor Recipient of the Vietnam War is the rare military biography that broadens the scope to include this fuller picture. It tells the story of an extraordinary young man who volunteered to do his part during the Vietnam War and ultimately gave his life to save his fellow soldiers. It also tells of those back home who influenced the man Michael Crescenz would become—and how those people rallied decades later to ensure his service would be remembered.

This new entry in the AUSA Book Program was written by John A. Siegfried and Kevin Ferris, two fellow Pennsylvanians who have worked with the Crescenz family to bring this story to the world. Siegfried is an historian and author of Six Degrees of the Bracelet: Vietnam’s Continuing Grip. Ferris spent over thirty years at The Philadelphia Inquirer as a columnist and editor, and he is the co-author of Unbreakable Bonds: The Mighty Moms and Wounded Warriors of Walter Reed and Vets and Pets: Wounded Warriors and the Animals that Help Them Heal.

The AUSA Book Program sat down with Kevin Ferris to discuss the new work:

AUSA: How did you connect with co-author John Siegfried on this project?

Ferris: Michael Crescenz's brother Joe made the connection. When it comes to Michael's legacy, Joe is a fierce and loyal advocate. And he was instrumental every step of the way, from finding old friends of Michael to interview to now promoting No Greater Love around the country.

AUSA: What inspired you to help share the story of this particular Medal of Honor recipient?

Ferris: Michael giving his life to save others was the number one inspiration.  Number two is the love and loyalty he inspires to this day -- family members, old friends from school, soldiers he saved, the Vietnam veterans who honor all those who serve when they pay tribute to Michael's noble spirit and great sacrifice.

AUSA: What is one thing you would like potential readers to know about the book?

Ferris: That love was the driving force behind Michael's heroic actions in Vietnam. And he learned about love -- for others, for his community, for his country -- at home, at school, at church, and in his neighborhood.

AUSA: How is Crescenz remembered today in Philadelphia?

Ferris: Michael's story wasn't widely known in his hometown until the family moved his body to Arlington National Cemetery in 2008. The resulting media coverage brought his act of valor to light and inspired many tributes: veterans posts and streets bear his name, a larger-than-life statue of him stands guard at Philly's Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the local VA hospital has been renamed for him.

To order a copy of No Greater Love please visit