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France's President Nicolas Sarkozy has appointed Austin's Bern Ballard, a 91 year-old WW II veteran, as "Chevalier" as a token of their gratitude for his role with the United States in the liberation of France during the war. "I rank it at least up there with my Purple Heart. It's a honor, I just wonder why me Lord, why me." said Ballard, who lives in Central Austin. Ballard holds his collection of medals which include among others, a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge and a European Theatre of Operations.

 

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Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis A. Green, the Virginia National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader, was on hand to award a handful of long overdue medals to World War II veteran Mat Franklin Spence March 16 in Emporia. Spence, an 89-year-old Emporia resident, received the Bronze Star Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, a Combat Infantryman Badge, and a World War II Honorable Service Lapel Button. Spence served in England, France and Belgium during World War II with Company K, 12th Infantry Regiment. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Public Affairs Office)

 

 

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New York State Assemblyman Dean Murray (R,C – East Patchogue) today presented the Conspicuous Service Cross to World War II veteran William Heagney, Sr. at the Brookhaven Health Care Facility in East Patchogue. Assemblyman Murray has worked for the past year to secure the medal for Mr. Heagney, who celebrated his 81st birthday last week.

 

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Bob Ford, a veteran of WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, stands next to his medals from three wars at his home in Georgetown on Thursday Nov. 6, 2008. Photo by Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman:

 

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Mike Colalillo of Duluth, pictured here in November 2001, shows the Medal of Honor he received for his heroism while serving in World War II. (Bob King / News-Tribune):

 

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WASP Doris Bristol Tracy, 43-W-5

 

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A veteran from Moorhead finally got the honor he deserved today. Sergeant Jim Liedahl received a Bronze star Medal and Purple Heart.

 

The colors on the American flag shine a little brighter after risking your life at war.

 

World War II veteran, Jim Liedahl, says, "Japanese hand grenades landed behind me. If I didn't have the equipment that I had on, I would have gotten torn up really bad."

 

Jim Liedahl served in Japan during World War II, and his experience is the reason why he's honored today. During his time in the Army, he saw images he doesn't want to remember, and did acts he would rather not talk about. After being wounded by a grenade, Jim was sent home empty handed, without the honors he deserved.

 

Liedahl says, "I was surprised the interest that they had. It was much appreciated."

 

Jim went on with his life, but when he retired, he started his second war... getting his honors. After a few years of digging through lost paperwork, Jim's fight is finally over.

 

Moorhead Mayor, Mark Voxland, says, "One of the greatest liberators. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for my community, but also for those that you helped."

 

Along with the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart, Jim received six other medals and awards and says that there are no words that can describe his feelings today.

 

"It's kind of overwhelming. It means quite a bit," says Liedahl.

 

And now, after 67 years of waiting, he can finally feel the honor and respect he deserves.

 

Jim is originally from a farm near Leonard North Dakota. He joined the army in 1943 and was enlisted for two years. During that time, he received 14 honors.

 

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WW II Veteran. Col. Dan Muat:

 

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Among Clifton's many awards, are two sets of Combat Aircrewman Wings with five stars, denoting five combat tours during World War II. He also was awarded the Air Medal, the Navy Commendation, a Combat Action Ribbon and quite a few more awards for his service in the U.S. Navy.

 

On December 7th, 1941, Clifton was an Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class, and Naval Aircrewman flying aboard the famous PBY Catalina aircraft, stationed at NAS Kaneohe Bay on the island of Oahu.

 

He retired as a Chief Petty Officer after 15 years of service, and is currently the Vice President of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Silver State Chapter 2 of Las Vegas, Nevada.

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These are all nice pictures that tell wonderful stories without the written word. Everything you need to know is right infront of your eyes.

 

Thank you.

 

Amen

Always looking for uniquely marked helmets, WWI and WWII American Field Service items, WWII and earlier USMC items and named or numbered medals and medal groups.


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After 67 years, another honor for World War II POW

April 11, 2012|By Edward Colimore, Inquirer Staff Writer

 

Photo: Harry E. Havens with several of his World War II medals and U.S. Rep. Chris Smith. (Harry E. Havens)

 

The letter, sent 67 years ago, came as a great relief to his mother and other family members.

 

They had awaited news of Technical Sgt. Harry E. Havens after receiving a message from the secretary of war informing them that he was missing in action in Germany.

 

Weeks passed, and then came the correspondence, written in Havens' own hand.

 

"Just a few lines to say I am fine and I hope that this letter finds all of you the same," wrote the lifelong Bordentown resident April 29, 1945. "I suppose that you have been wondering where I have been.

 

"Well, I was a prisoner of war and have been liberated," he wrote. ". . . I am all right."

 

Havens was highly decorated for his service during the European campaign in World War II. He received the Silver Star and Distinguished Service Cross, along with other honors.

 

But he didn't receive a medal recognizing his POW status until Tuesday, during a ceremony in the Hamilton Township office of Rep. Chris Smith (R., N.J.).

 

"I just did my duty," said Havens, 88, who later worked on farms and loaded trucks. "I was young. They say I was a hero, but I don't know about that."

 

His latest medal was long overdue and much deserved, Smith told Havens.

 

"You are a hero, Mr. Havens, and we thank you for your actions, especially your time as a prisoner of war," he said.

 

"Mr. Havens was only 22 years old when he did these amazing things to earn the Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross," Smith said. "And today he's finally honored for the time he spent as a prisoner."

 

Havens, a member of Company G of the Seventh Infantry Regiment, Third Infantry, received the Silver Star for his gallantry after guiding four injured comrades to an aid station near La Voire, France, in 1944, and evacuating another as shells burst around him.

 

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross after taking the lead in a ferocious battle near Houssen, France, in 1945.

 

Havens helped take an enemy-held house, braving heavy fire, then charged into a German trench. Fifteen enemy soldiers were killed, 10 were wounded, and 30 captured.

 

But in March 1945, his luck seemed to run out.

 

Havens was captured by the enemy and, with others, was marched miles across the German countryside. Along the way, Havens kept a diary describing the life of POWs. They often ate potatoes and bread, he said, and slept in muddy fields in the rain as they moved through several towns.

 

In April 1945 entries, Havens wrote: "Stayed in field. GI shot for disobeying orders. . . . Heard unconfirmed reports of [Franklin D.] Roosevelt's death."

 

April 27 was a joyous day.

 

"Liberated at 4:15 in the morning," he wrote. "A VERY HAPPY DAY. . . . Taking it easy. First GI meal since captured. Breakfast oatmeal, bacon, eggs, white bread, coffee, milk, cows butter."

 

Havens left the service Oct. 20, 1945, as a master sergeant and has been active with veterans groups in the Bordentown area.

 

His fellow World War II veterans deserve credit for their service, too, said Havens, adding that he looks forward to the return of U.S. service members from Afghanistan.

 

"I spent two years on the front lines," he said Tuesday. "That's a long time to be on the front lines. God was looking out for me."

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