More Than Seven Decades Later, Veteran Gets Overdue Medals
More than seven decades after surviving a plane crash during World War II, a 90-year-old Missouri veteran finally has his medals.
The Southeast Missourian reports that Clifford Heinrich received five long-overdue medals Monday during a ceremony in Cape Girardeau. Among the medals was the Purple Heart.
At age 19, Heinrich, an Air Corps tail gunner, was the only survivor when his 10-member crew's B-17 crashed over southwest England while returning from a bombing mission on Dec. 23, 1944. Heinrich suffered a fractured skull and severe injury to his foot. He spent 14 months in the hospital.
His medals never reached him after his convalescence. Dave Hitt, another Cape Girardeau veteran, arranged for the medal bestowment through U.S. Sen Roy Blunt's office.