A 92-year-old World War II veteran has finally receive the Purple Heart he earned while fighting in Belgium more than 70 years ago.
Oscar Davis Jr., who now lives in North Carolina, was injured during the Battle of the Bulge while he was a private assigned as a radio telephone operator, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
The radio on Davis’ back protected him when a large piece of shrapnel fell on top of him, but a barrage of German artillery uprooted a tree in the Ardennes forest
that fell on him, injuring his spine.
The paratrooper was paralyzed from the waist down for three weeks but eventually rejoined his unit in Germany.
While Davis was informed decades ago that he would receive the prestigious military honor, he never did due to unsigned paperwork.
On Saturday, at Heritage Place in Fayetteville, the Purple Heart was finally pinned to Davis’ jacket by Lt. Col. Marcus Wright, commander of the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the same regiment that Davis once belonged to.
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Davis was surrounded by friends, family and more than two dozen soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
Davis thanked God for being able to experience the honor.
“This has been some day,” he said. “I couldn’t believe all this was going to happen. I just want to thank the Lord.”
It took the Veterans Legacy Foundation nearly two years to recover the medal for Davis. The volunteer organization has helped more than 100 veterans receive military awards owed to them.
For Davis, Volunteers scoured an archive of military records to find proof that he was injured in the war.
In 2015, the group also helped Davis recover the Bronze Star and other medals that were awarded to him, which were presented to him in a ceremony at the U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville.
“He’s still one of us,” said Capt. Andrew Hammack, commander of A Company, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. “He’s just not currently reporting for duty.”
(H/T: The Fayetteville Observer)
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