70 Years Late: Horace Appleby Finally Gets His Medals

I am really going to enjoy writing this next story. It’s nice once in a while to write a feel good story instead of the latest military technologies that can blow us up into tiny little bits or reporting on some insignificant island somewhere that may be the cause of the start of WWIII. No one ever said the military acted fast all the time, and that is definitely the case here, as a heroic WWII vet finally got his medals after patiently waiting 70 years without making a fuss; that man would be a former Army Private named Horace Appleby.

What makes Mr. Appleby’s story even better is the fact that he is not one of those 18, 19, and 20 year old kids that was drafted and sent off to fight and is still with us today; he was 27 years old when he was drafted in 1941. So, now at the honorable age of 101 Private Appleby has finally been rewarded for his heroic efforts in one of the worst wars in history.

Horace Appleby receives his medals
Horace Appleby receives his medals

Private Appleby was assigned to the 180th Infantry Regiment that was a part of the 45th Infantry Division, or the “Thunderbirds” as they were affectionately called. The 45th was the Infantry Division that was among those that fought their way up from Northern Africa and Italy into France and then finally into Germany itself. The 45th Infantry Division saw action in some of the worst battles of WWII such as Sicily, Anzio Beach and Salerno. As with most infantry units in WWII, the unit sustained heavy casualties and saw six members of its group receive Medals of Honor for their valor. Now you can add Private Appleby’s name to the growing list of WWII heroes acknowledged from the 45th Infantry Division.

The very humble Mr. Appleby said he still vividly recalls the events of the day that led him to receiving his current honors. It was said that the unit had been dug in for many months in Europe along a stagnant front when the Germans made a huge push that dislodged them from their positions and forced them to quickly retreat. After regrouping, it was noticed that a member of the unit was unaccounted for. Private Appleby braved a hail of enemy fire as he went back to find his missing comrade and then return him safely to the rest of his platoon.

As a result of his heroic efforts he received over ten medals in all, which included the coveted Silver and Bronze Stars. Private Appleby stated he was honored to receive the medals finally and that he was “only doing a soldiers duty.”

The effort to get him his medals was spearheaded by his great-niece, Renee Hahn. She had heard some stories about his time as a soldier and became interested in learning more about them through his service records; that is when she found out he was a true hero who never got what he was due. With a boost from Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, Private Appleby finally got his medals.

Horace Appleby is a true hero. Today we salute him and all of the other brave men and women who serve, and have served, this great country so admirably.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Craig Smith

Craig has been writing for several years but just recently made freelance writing a full time profession after leaving behind 26 years working in the swimming pool construction industry. He served four years in the US Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter Specialist in Okinawa, Japan and at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As a staunch supporter of law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, firemen, search and rescue personnel and those who serve in the military, Craig is proud to contribute to the US Patriot blog on their behalf.
Craig Smith
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