Veteran to get WW2 medals after 77 years

Veteran to get WW2 medals after 77 years

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— Nearly eight decades after he parachuted into Italy during World War II and was wounded in combat, a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division will soon receive the recognition he was due for so long.

Marvin Cornett, 99, will receive the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart in a Feb. 22 ceremony in Auburn, Calif.

Cornett was part of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment for the 82nd Airborne, which is based at Fort Bragg. He participated in the combat parachute assault into Salerno, Italy, and then stormed ashore at Anzio Beach, where he was wounded in action along the Mussolini Canal on Jan. 31, 1944, according to the Army.

After being wounded, he was reassigned to the Parachute School at Fort Benning, Ga., where he served as an instructor and also met his wife, a Women’s Army Corps parachute rigger assigned to the school’s rigger shed. 

Cornett was discharged after World War II, but he re-enlisted three years later and served a full career. He retired as a sergeant first class and an Army recruiter.

But he never received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart he was due, and he never thought to pursue it.

While researching his career at the family’s request, a veteran-founded company, Heritage Arsenal, in Colorado Springs, Colo., discovered the oversight on his official record. A company official, who is a former Green Beret and friend of the 82nd Airborne Division, helped guide the family through the process to request and receive the awards.

Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, will be a virtual guest speaker during the upcoming ceremony. U.S. Army recruiters will present the two awards to Cornett, who will be wearing his full dress uniform during the event, which officials said will observe pandemic safety protocols.