WWII veteran receives Bronze Star after 65 years
USArmy | April 22, 2009 at 12:28 pmby
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Clarence Walter, a World War II combat Veteran, received a Bronze Star Metal on April 14, 65 years after being wounded by a sniper in Italy in December 1943.
Nearly 66 years later, Wallaert, 86, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., April 14 for his meritorious actions during World War II.
Wallaert's son-in-law, retired Air Force Col. Jim Harper, attended the ceremony at Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Headquarters where he works, along with other members of Wallaert's family.
"It was such an awesome and humbling experience to have (Maj.) Gen. (James) Hodge meet with the family and then award his medal," Harper said. "My father-in-law said that he was 'awed' by the ceremony."
Harper said the award was delayed for decades because Wallaert and his family did not realize he was authorized to receive the award until recently.
"It was unknown that Army regulations authorized the Bronze Star medal for WWII recipients if they had been awarded the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman's Badge," Harper said.
Wallaert previously received both decorations and his Bronze Star request was filed March 16. "It's one of those gems uncovered over time that showed he was authorized to receive it (the Bronze Star) when it was unknown to him prior to recently," Harper said.
Hodge, SDDC commanding general, presented Wallaert with his Bronze Star during the ceremony last week. "I was as happy as I could possibly be to be involved in the recognition of one of our WWII veterans," said Hodge, whose father is also a decorated World War II veteran.
"It was close to me personally," he said. "You could certainly see his pride during the ceremony."
Friday, back in Michigan, Wallaert said via phone that he was surprised by the large crowd at the ceremony. "I was really overwhelmed," Wallaert said. "I expected maybe one person to be there but they had the whole room (filled). I was just doing my duty and I didn't expect all the praise."
To read the full story, please see: WW II veteran receives Bronze Star after 65 years
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