(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today announced Purple Heart medals will be posthumously awarded to the families of 22 New Hampshire veterans who died as prisoners of war. Of the soldiers being honored, 19 served in World War II and three served in the Korean War. The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the U.S. military who have been killed or wounded in combat.
"These men gave their lives for America," Shaheen said. "Today, America recognizes their service and bravery. These medals are proof that while these soldiers are gone, their sacrifice is not forgotten."
The New Hampshire Chapter of American Ex-Prisoners of War has identified 61 New Hampshire POWs who died in service to their country during WWII or the Korean War and are now eligible to receive the Purple Heart. The organization has been working to locate the next of kin for all 61 soldiers-as is required by the military in order to posthumously award service medals. Senator Shaheen has been working with the appropriate military branches to determine eligibility for the awards. In all, 59 New Hampshire veterans have been honored as a result of this important effort.
"This is most welcome news," said Allan Gavan, World War II veteran and ex-Prisoner of War who is leading the American Ex-POWs New Hampshire Chapter's efforts. "It means that the Purple Heart would have been awarded to 59 of the 61 New Hampshire men who died in prison camp during WWII and the Korean conflict. On behalf of our ex-POW organization, I wish to thank all those who dedicated their time and efforts over the past few years to this accomplishment."
The medals will be presented to the families of the following:
Major Charles J. Browne, Army (Rockingham County)
Captain Hall S. Roberts, Army
First Lieutenant James L. Corcoran, Army (Rochester)
Sgt. First Class Frederick E. Fleming, Navy (Sullivan)
Technical Sgt. Joseph F. Gervais, Army (Hillsborough County)
Staff Sgt. Paul H. Prescott, Army (Hillsborough County)
Staff Sgt. Louis J. Rivet, Army Air Force (Hillsborough County)
Sgt. Henry H. Packard, Army (Grafton County)
Sgt. Austin J. Pineau, Army (Berlin/Coos County)
Cpl. Irving A. Corliss, Army Air Force (Portsmouth/Rockingham County)
Cpl. Robert S. Fletcher, Army (Hillsborough County)
Cpl. Adolf S. Papienuk, Army (Belknap County)
Cpl. Wallace F. Ritter, Army (Salem/Rockingham County)
Private First Class Stanley L. Bodnar, Army (Rockingham County)
Private First Class Charles R. Pierce, Army (Grafton County)
Private Manuel P. Cooley, Army (Strafford County)
Private Robert C. Falardeau, Army Air Force (Coos County)
Private George W. Hall, Army (Merrimack County)
Private Russell F. Kenneson, Army Air Force (Rumney/Grafton County)
Private Albert L. Lemelin, Army (Manchester/Hillsborough County)
Private Jones E. Nourse, Army Air Force (New Hampshire)
Private Douglass B. Rush, Army (Merrimack County)