United States Reserve Air Force, he retired in 2001 as a command pilot in the grade of Colonel. During his military career he participated in over two hundred missions in the Vietnam War, for which he was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and twenty Air Medals, and multiple missions to Saudi Arabia during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Upon completion of his active duty service Colonel Battista graduated from Western New England University School of Law. From 1977 until 2013, he practiced law while remaining engaged in his Air Force commitment to flying assignments and middle and senior military management missions. Colonel Battista was dedicated to the organized bar and as a result served as president of the Hampden County Bar Association, a member of its board of directors and an ex officio director. Colonel Battista was an active part of the team that successfully advocated on behalf of aircrews and maintainers who flew and worked on aircraft used to spread Agent Orange. After years of administrative battles and litigation, the Department of Veterans Affairs conceded the legitimacy of the medical claims of these men and women who were diagnosed with so-called Agent Orange presumptive diseases and opened its system of medical care and other benefits to Air Force Reserve colleagues who were exposed at Westover Air Base and other Air Force Reserve bases.
Remaining true to his commitment to military veterans, after his retirement from the practice of law Colonel Battista was instrumental in establishing a Veterans Treatment Court with jurisdiction over the three counties in Western Massachusetts. This Court addresses the unique situation of military veterans involved in the criminal justice system, offering specialized supervision and care to those who have sacrificed so much for their country and its citizens. As a result of his advocacy for veterans, in 2015, Colonel Battista received the Adams Pro Bono Publico from the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Through this scholarship Colonel Battista, his family and the Hampden County Bar Association hope to continue Colonel Battista’s dedication to help members of the armed services.
Applicants for this scholarship must be a veteran with an Honorable Discharge or a current member of the United States Military and must be admitted for the upcoming year to an accredited law school. The scholarship is based on merit and financial need. The applicant must be admitted for the upcoming academic year to an accredited law school. The applican t must be a veteran with an Honorable Discharge or a current member of the United States Military. The scholarship award is not less than the amount of $1,000. For more information or to apply, please visit the scholarship provider's website.