A former gunner on a B-17 bomber during World War II who was injured when his plane was shot down over Germany was awarded his Purple Heart in a St. Cloud ceremony on Sunday – 70 years later, the St. Cloud Times reported.
Lawrence Huschle, 92, was one of just a few survivors of the plane that crashed in 1943, and he then spent nearly two years as a prisoner of war, the newspaper reported. He was honorably discharged for medical reasons in 1945, but he was not awarded a Purple Heart medal, the award given to those wounded in combat.
That's because there was not adequate paperwork to verify that the plane was shot down, or that Huschle was injured in the crash. Family members tried for years to get the necessary proof. Finally, the other remaining survivor of the crash was able to help verify the incident, paperwork was filed, and Huschle received his medal in the mail in the fall of 2012.
“It’s overwhelming, I never expected this,” Huschle told the St. Cloud Times. “I never thought (it would happen).”