Monday, May 13, 2013

WWII Veteran Gets His Lost Dog Tag Returned; Vietnam Veteran Received Bronze Star 50 Years Later

"There on the beaches of Normandy, I began to reflect on the wonders of these ordinary people whose lives were laced with the markings of greatness." Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation

Dog Tags Returned To WWII Veteran

Most people never heard of Willie Wilkins, a 90-year old WWII veteran. But they need to know his story.

Mr. Wilkins, a North Carolina native, entered the Army at age 18. He served in the US Army Quartermaster Grave Registration Unit in 1944.  He remembers losing his dog tags as he picked up dead soldiers on the battlefields of France. "He didn't let losing his dog tag stop him. He was too busy keeping track of the dog tags of the dead soldiers he was burying," said his daughter, Carol Wilkins.

In 2001, Anne_Marie Crespo, a French woman, was working in her garden. While digging up her yard, her shovel hit some metal. It turned out to be an old, worn dog tag. Presuming the owner of the dog tag was dead, she held a private memorial service in her home for him and all of the U.S. soldiers who gave their lives to help liberate France.

The dog tags ended up in the hands of Philippe Clerbout. His father was liberated by Americans from a Nazi POW camp. He wanted to find out if the owner of the dog tag was still alive. After reaching out to French and American authorities, he learned Mr. Wilkins was still alive and living in Newark, NJ.

Last week, Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, surprised Wilkins by giving him the dog tag during a ceremony marking V-E Day, the end of WWII in Europe.

"Daddy was smiling. He was laughing and clapping," said his daughter.
NY Post

Vietnam Veteran Receives Bronze Star 50 Years Later

Robert L. Rimpson was a Marine in Vietnam 50 years ago.

When he was 19, Rimpson, along with his squad leader, Sgt. Robert O'Malley, came under intense small arms fire. Rimpson and O'Malley assaulted the trench line from where they were receiving the small arms fire. After clearing the trench line, Rimpson, injured from shrapnel wounds, moved under enemy fire to help evacuate other injured squad members to a chopper landing zone for evacuation.

Robert Rimpson was recommended for an award while on active duty but after he was discharged he lost contact with the Marine Corps. He was once again recommended for an award in 2010. On May 4, 2013, he was finally awarded the Bronze Star for his heroism.

"I've never been more proud to be a Marine," said Pfc. Rimpson after receiving his medal. He is also a Purple Heart recipient.

Note: Sgt. Robert O'Malley received the Medal of Honor for his heroism that same day (image below)

1 comment:

  1. Wow- God Bless these incredible heroes. Thank you for keeping their stories alive.