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Medals - our most recent 'project'

posted Feb 20, 2009, 2:52 AM by Richard Wagers   [ updated Feb 20, 2009, 3:25 AM ]

Just a note to let everyone know Grandpa and I have made an application requesting he be awarded The Bronze Star Medal and The Purple Heart.

If you've read the Iwo Jima book you know Grandpa was wounded while fighting near Mt. Suribachi (and this qualified him for The Purple Heart).  When the war had ended and he was on Okinawa he was (verbally) awarded The Purple Heart and a Battle Star.  At the time he was focused on getting home to Granny and he knew that with the points from either citation he would have enough to get back home.   He was told then (by the officer who gave the award) the Battle Star would arrive in a few days, whereas The Purple Heart would take about 6 weeks.  
He took the Battle Star and the few points he needed and got a ticket home.  

Now, sixty-four years after the fact we are asking the medal be awarded.   The challenge is in substantiating our request.  Medical records were often not kept during the fighting on Iwo Jima so there is no official evidence of his wounds.  I wrote a letter on his behalf explaining as well as I could the circumstances and requested his records be reviewed and that he be awarded his Purple Heart.  I don't know what will come of this, but it was worth the effort.

The Bronze Star Medal was a separate award that I learned of while researching The Purple Heart.  It turns out that every soldier who earned a Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) during WWII was also eligible for this medal as a 'CIB conversion'.  You can read a history of how and why here.