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D-Day Posthumous Armored Purple Heart Pair


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In Honor of the 65th anniversary of D-Day, I thought I'd post this medal pair in its own thread....

 

Pvt. Robert J. Figg served in Company 'A' 741st Tank Battalion was KIA on June 6th, 1944. He was born in 1920 and enlisted in the Army in January 1942.

 

On D-Day, the 741st Tank Battalion bravely went in ahead of the infantry and were the first on Omaha Beach. The 741st Tank Battalion consisted of Company's 'A', 'B' and 'C' each with 16 tanks for a total of 48 tanks that were in the initial landing force in support of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 16th Regiment of the 1st US Infantry Division. Their designated landing sector was the Easy Red and Fox Green portion of Omaha Beach. This was the westerly end of Omaha and approximately 1 1/4 miles wide.

 

Company 'A' 741st Tank Battalion consisted of sixteen M-4A Sherman Tanks. These tanks were called Wadders and were brought directly into the beach. The tanks went into the water up to their turrent ring. Two 'A' Company Wadders were damaged by enemy gunfire on the landind craft and the other 14 were beached on Omaha. All of the tanks were immediately vulnerable and exposed to well-concealed German anti-tank guns that took their toll on them.

 

Company's 'B' and 'C' were in the famous Duplex Drive Tanks (DD's) and were launched from 10,000 yards out from the LCT'S at exactly 5:40 am. Twenty seven DD'S went down in the channel...most within 1000 -1500 yards of the beach. Two 'B' Company DD's made it all the way in and three 'B' Company DD'S were brought up to the beach.

 

Pvt Figg was KIA on Omaha Beach Easy Red sector. There were five 'A' Company men killed on Omaha Beach that historic day and about 10-15 WIAs. There were five 'B' Company DD'S and 12 'A' Company Wadders in the Easy-Red sector of Omaha beach on Tuesday morning June 6, 1944.

 

This information was provided by Tony Basile-Jean whose brother served in 'A' Company on D-Day and is the battalion's historian. He was very generous with his information and a great help in researching this tank regiments part on D-Day.

 

PVT Robert Figg was married at the time of his death. The hand-engraved PH was probably issued to his wife since she was listed as his NOK. The script engraved PH was probably issued to his mother after the war. However I'm not entirely certain of this sequence.

 

He was a local boy and I managed to reunite the two PHs from two different sources.

 

Thanks for looking !

 

Vic

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"We Polish soldiers, for your freedom and ours, gave our souls to God, our bodies to the soil of Italy, and our hearts to Poland"

 

-- inscription at the Polish cemetary - Monte Cassino

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VERY impressive! Thanks for sharing, especially today ....

"I looked up at the bunker in front of me and saw a khaki-uniformed NVA with a pith helmet, chest web gear, green Bata boots and an AK, Type 56, and no other identifying insignia. Then I shot him." -- Sergeant Tony "Fast Eddie" Anderson, RT Kansas, TF1AE, 1971

 

"My God, where do we find these men?" President George H. W. Bush commenting on 1st SFOD-Delta after the Operation Acid Gambit rescue of Kurt Muse.

 

"Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me." - Inscription on the dog tag resting on the flag-draped homeward bound casket of an American Special Opearations warrior killed in action in Afghanistan, July 2005. - Dick Couch - Chosen Soldier

 

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  • 9 years later...
Here’s an old post that merits another look because it illustrates duplicate awards made to the family of a married soldier who died in service. The OP surmised that the soldier’s widow received the first PH during the war, she being the official next-of-kin. This would have been the decoration hand engraved with block-style letters. The second PH went to the soldier’s parents during the 1947-1949 time-frame, this decoration being the one engraved in script. I know that both engraving styles were done by the U.S. Army, but a couple questions come to mind. Perhaps Kastauffer, Tarbridge, Dave or another knowledgeable person can offer insight.


1) Were both engraving styles specific to the Philadelphia Quartermaster Deport?

2) Was it a matter of practice to issue decorations to a married soldier’s widow as well as his parents? Or was the postwar presentation to the parents done only upon request? I'm guessing the latter.
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Here’s an old post that merits another look because it illustrates duplicate awards made to the family of a married soldier who died in service. The OP surmised that the soldier’s widow received the first PH during the war, she being the official next-of-kin. This would have been the decoration hand engraved with block-style letters. The second PH went to the soldier’s parents during the 1947-1949 time-frame, this decoration being the one engraved in script. I know that both engraving styles were done by the U.S. Army, but a couple questions come to mind. Perhaps Kastauffer, Tarbridge, Dave or another knowledgeable person can offer insight.
1) Were both engraving styles specific to the Philadelphia Quartermaster Deport?
2) Was it a matter of practice to issue decorations to a married soldier’s widow as well as his parents? Or was the postwar presentation to the parents done only upon request? I'm guessing the latter.

 

 

 

To answer your questions, yes...both of these came from the PQMD. As far as practice to award a decoration to a parent (or other NOK) it was done via request. GIKyle did a thread about these with the actual reference at one point on here. It would be good to link if I can find it...

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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The plain hand engraved Purple Heart would have been issued in 1944, and the script hand engraved Purple Heart in 1947.

 

Kurt

!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


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I believe the PH was requested by the parents if I remember correctly...it's been awhile. I'll have to pull the IDPF because i think there's a copy of the mother's letter in the file.

"We Polish soldiers, for your freedom and ours, gave our souls to God, our bodies to the soil of Italy, and our hearts to Poland"

 

-- inscription at the Polish cemetary - Monte Cassino

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I believe the PH was requested by the parents if I remember correctly...it's been awhile. I'll have to pull the IDPF because i think there's a copy of the mother's letter in the file.

 

Interesting. It would be great if you could post a picture of that letter.

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Forgive the size of the image, but here's a memo from the War Department addressing the awarding of a duplicate Purple Heart to a separate NOK...

Screenshot_10.jpg

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

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Forgive the size of the image, but here's a memo from the War Department addressing the awarding of a duplicate Purple Heart to a separate NOK...

 

Dave, thanks for posting the letter. It establishes that the issuance of duplicate decorations began as a remedy for posthumous medals mistakenly sent to a soldier’s parents instead of his widow due to outdated next-of-kin information. Maybe that’s what happened with Robert Figg. He married a woman he met while stationed at Fort Meade, and perhaps his emergency contact information wasn’t updated to reflect her as the NOK. Whatever the case, I wonder if a married soldier’s parents were permitted to request a duplicate decoration. That circumstance isn’t contemplated in the letter. The War Department could have argued that a duplicate decoration in that case was unwarranted because no mistake occurred.

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