WINCHESTER -- Turning 97 is a feat in itself, never mind for a veteran of World War II and a former prisoner of war.
Elwood Ramey's latest birthday brought a special present in the form of additional medals and honors, including a Bronze Star, for his service in Europe.
Ramey was a U.S. Army machine gunner in the war. He volunteered before the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec, 7, 1941, and was initially stationed in Iceland, according to his family. As the war progressed, his unit was moved to Europe and trained others for the invasion at Normandy. Ramey was part of the invasion force that day, landing on Utah Beach in France.
After a previous story about Ramey in The Winchester Sun, retired Army Col. Jerry Cecil went to visit Ramey. In looking over Ramey's honors from the war, he saw a few were missing.
Cecil sent a copy of Ramey's service records to Fort Knox for review for other possible commendations. Staff concurred, awarding Ramey a Bronze Star, a World War II Victory Medal, an Occupation of Germany medal and a theater combat medal.
Some of the citations, like the World War II Victory Medal, were cast after the war ended, Cecil said. Though all who served in the war were eligible, many veterans didn't seek them.
The Bronze Star was retroactively awarded to anyone who fought during World War II and earned a Combat Infantryman Badge or a Combat Medical Badge. Ramey earned the former.
Cecil and Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner, a retired Marine, presented Ramey with the new decorations on his birthday, April 12.
"We just wanted to make sure he got all the medals the country promised him," Cecil said.
Ramey was captured in September 1944 by German soldiers as he manned a one-man outpost to report on troop movements and call in air strikes. He was forced to work in a factory for nearly 10 months until the POW camp was liberated in July 1945.
Upon his discharge, Ramey returned home to work as a machinist and, later, in demolition for highway construction.
James Estes posted on: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 11:53 AM
I am glad Mr. Ramey received the medals he deserved. Others and family of others entitled to metals should try to receive what they earned.