Protecting Our Protectors
Updated: Jan 14
Angel Coriano is a retired US Navy Veteran who dedicated 28 years of service to our country. Angel enlisted in the Navy in 1966. He went to basic training in Great Lakes, Illinois.
From there Angel went to Groton, Connecticut for submarine school to be a torpedo man. While in a 100ft tower in Groton, Angel ruptured his eardrum. This event ended Angel’s chance to submarine. Angel was placed on shore duty after this event. He was then sent to Naval Air Station Brunswick located in Brunswick, Maine.
After some time in Brunswick Angel was transferred to the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, Va. One last stop before his first tour in Vietnam, Angel was sent to SERE training. Sere, also known as survival, evasion, resistance, and escape is described by Angel as being a prisoner of war camp. Angel was then sent to Vietnam with his plane landing in DaNang. The first order of business was to change from his Navy uniform to fatigues. Angel was sent to Camp Tien Sha and assigned to the cargo handling battalion, tasked with unloading air cargo from ships. Angel drove boats out to ships to receive ammunition. Angel then became a Third Class Boatswain Mate. From there Angel became a Coxswain, Naval boat operator. After a short time, Angel was transferred to a Navy Lighterage Pontoon. After this stint, Angel was sent home to the US, landing in Brunswick, Maine aboard the VP21 Patrol Squadron. Angel was then reassigned to the USS Wasp CVS18 in Newport, Rhode Island. Angel’s first four-year stint with the US Navy then came to an end.
After his four year term, Angel went back to civilian life and took a job at Bellevue Hospital in NY. After working at Bellevue for 5 months Angel felt the need and the urge to re-enlist in the Navy. He re-enlisted that same year, 1970. Upon entrance, Angel was sent right back to Vietnam. One of his first encounters in Vietnam was with a fellow Puerto Rican American, possibly the only two like people in all of Vietnam. Angel befriended his fellow Puerto Rican American, who was in charge of US personnel, and six months after Angel was reassigned out of Vietnam and onto the USS Furse DD82 Navy Destroyer. Angel served two and a half years on the Furse, at which time the ship was decommissioned. The US gifted the Furse to Spain. Angel was then transferred to Fort Schuyler, the Bronx, NY on board USS Moale DD693 Destroyer. After serving three years on the Moale, the ship was decommissioned. Angel was then transferred to Newport, Rhode Island, and served on the USS William Rush DD714 Destroyer. From there Angel transferred to Manhattan, NY from 1973-1977 and was a Navy recruiter. After leaving NYC Angel transferred to the USS Eaton ATS1 Salvage Ship which was in Little Creek, Va. Angel served 2 years on the Eaton. Angel then transferred back to the Tri-state area, landing on the USS Suribachi AE21 at NWSE, Leonardo, NJ. Angel served on the Suribachi from 1979-1982. After his stint in Leonardo, NJ Angel landed in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, and was stationed at Roosevelt Roads from 1982-1985. From Roosevelt Fields, Angel moved onto the USS Boulder LST90, located at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, NY. Angel was stationed at Floyd Bennett from 1985-1988. After Floyd Bennett Field, Angel transferred to Ft Hamilton in Brooklyn, NY to become a recruiter. Angel was also the Navy liaison for MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) where he had the duty of swearing in all-new Navy recruits from 1985-1988. He then was reassigned to the USS Seattle AOE3, a combat support ship. The Seattle was stationed at NWSE, Leonardo, NJ. This term of service was 1988-1992. Finally, Angel transferred off the Seattle to NWSE mainland and became a Port Service officer from 1992 up until his retirement in 1994.
Angel’s twenty-eight-year service to the United States Navy is nothing short of inspiration and admirable. With over 20 medals earned in addition to the most prestigious Purple Heart, Angel served H.S. country with dignity and integrity.
Angel and his wife Iris were married in 1973. They have lived in Middletown, NJ for 30years, raising their daughters Melissa and Erika here.
Unfortunately, the toll of Vietnam as well as other factors have lead to some complicated medical conditions. Angel was diagnosed with diabetes in 1992. He started experiencing blurred vision. Further complications ensued with surgeries resulting in toe amputations on both feet which caused balancing issues for Angel.
On August 29, 2019, Angel woke up, opened his eyes, and was no longer able to see. He is now legally blind. Angel also had a heart issue which necessitated surgery and placement of 6 stents. Angel also undergoes dialysis three days a week.
The advent of COVID-19 has presented further challenges for Angel. He is in a high-risk category and very vulnerable. Most recently, as a result of diabetes Angel was forced to have the lower portion of his left leg removed. As a result, there will be many months of rehab in order for Angel to walk and regain balance.
Whirl Construction was contacted by Kathy Straniero with the Twp of Middletown Social Services. Kathy asked if we would assist in providing an ADA ramp for Angel to access his home. After hearing Angel’s story, the answer was simple, YES! Jim Davis, Sr., Whirl's founder, also a Navy Vet, really felt a connection to the project and wanted to help out Angel, and his family. After sitting down with Angel and sharing their military experiences, Jim and the Whirl Team got to work. Partnering with the Twp of Middletown and the VFW #2179, Whirl Construction performed a design/build of an all-access ramp that allows users to access the front door of the house as well as the side walkway leading to the backyard. Glenn Cottrell drew the concept plan and lead the team in the field.
Once the ADA ramp was completed a yard clean up was scheduled. Kathy Straniero lined up help from local Boy Scout Troop 140, Bill Gilmartin lined up a crew from Port Monmouth Fire Company and Whirl Construction provided the dumpster for removals. Seeing the community come together and work together is the American Way. Uniting together for a Veteran in need and his family is priceless. We must never forget the sacrifices and selfless acts these heroes made to secure the freedoms we enjoy today.
The Whirl Team thanks Angel for his years of dedication and service to our country, and we hope he will continue to fight as he has in years past.