I'm on a quest, one begun as a result of my entry on Veteran's Day.
My dad called me up and asked me why I stated in that entry that Paul Pettit, my step-mom's dad, had been awarded a Bronze Star.
I said it was because his military gravstone said he did.
Paul Pettit was inducted into the Army on 23 Mar 1944 at Camp Robinson, in what is now North Little Rock, AR. By 25 Sep 1944, he was overseas in the European Theater as part of what was known as the Rhineland Campaign.
On 17 Nov 1944, his vmail letter was dispatched by the War and Navy Department to his wife, Audria, in Atkins, Pope Co., AR.
Audria got Paul's vmail on 19 Nov 1944. No one knew at the time the significance of that date.Regret to inform you...
It had to be a horrible telegram to get. It arrived on 3 Dec 1944, sent to a 24 year old wife and 4 year old daughter.
For anyone receiving a telegram during World War II...you knew before you tore the envelope open, didn't you?Regret to inform you your husband was seriously wounded in action in France nineteen November until new address is received address mail for him quote private Paul Pettit serial number (hospitalized) central postal directory apo 640 care postmaster New York New York unquote you will be advised as reports of condition are received Witsell acting the Adjutant General
Audria had no way of knowing that on the day she got his vmail, Paul had been ambushed by a sniper as he jumped off the truck when his unit entered a small town in France. He was shot, multiple times, in the abdomen, resulting in surgery that was unable to repair his colon. From the field hospital, he was sent to another hospital, and spent a total of 225 days hospitalized before he was sent stateside, not to come home,
but to guard prisoners of war in the United States.
During his hospitalization, the Army sent information about his condition.
His duty assignment took him to the Panama Canal Zone, where on board the ship, doctors had to treat an outbreak of gonorrhea. Finally, the doctor who examined Paul said, "You're going home."
Paul Pettit was honorably discharged from the United States Army on 8 Mar 1946 in New Hamilton, NY. He was awarded a 100% disability rating, as well as a Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman's Badge, World War II Victory Ribbon, EAME Theater Ribbon, and American Theater Ribbon.
He never said anything about a Bronze Star, and my step-mom does not have it with his other awards. He probably never knew he had gotten it.
President Roosevelt authorized the Bronze Star Medal by Executive Order 9419 dated 4 February 1944, retroactive to 7 December 1941. This authorization was announced in War Department Bulletin No. 3, dated 10 February 1944. The Executive Order was amended by President Kennedy, per Executive Order 11046 dated 24 August 1962, to expand the authorization to include those serving with friendly forces.
As a result of a study conducted in 1947, the policy was implemented that authorized the retroactive award of the Bronze Star Medal to soldiers who had received the Combat Infantryman Badge
or the Combat Medical Badge during World War II. The basis for doing this was that the badges were awarded only to soldiers who had borne the hardships which resulted in General Marshall’s support of the Bronze Star Medal. Both badges required a recommendation by the commander and a citation in orders.
My favorite Congressman, Vic Snyder, has a hell-on-wheels staff member who handles constituent concerns related to US veterans. Devon Cockrell, a veteran and active duty member of the US Army, has assured me that there is no question that Paul Pettit's daughter will get her daddy's Bronze Star Medal. He's going to start the process for us.
And he says the Army does them up right...