Middletown Transcript
  • New Castle WWII vet finally receives his long overdue medals

  • Francis 'Franny' Weaver honored with five medals he never received after his service was over in 1946
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    • A Brief History of The Medals:

      The World War II Victory Medal is a campaign medal of the United States military first issued as a service ribbon referred to as the "Victory Ribbon." By 1946, a full medal had been estab...

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      A Brief History of The Medals:

      The World War II Victory Medal is a campaign medal of the United States military first issued as a service ribbon referred to as the "Victory Ribbon." By 1946, a full medal had been established which was referred to as the World War II Victory Medal. The medal commemorates military service during WWII and is awarded to any member of the US military, including members of the armed forces of the Government of the Philippine Islands, who served on active duty, or as a reservist, between Dec. 7, 1941 and Dec. 31, 1946.

      The Good Conduct Medal is one of the oldest military awards of the United States Armed Forces. The Army Good Conduct Medal was established by Executive Order 8809, dated 28 June 1941, and authorized the award for soldiers completing three years active service after that date. The criteria were amended by Executive Order 9323, dated 31 March 1943, to authorize the award for candidates having three years of service after 7 Dec. 1941 or one year of service while the United States is at war.

      The American Campaign Medal is a military award of the United States Armed Forces which was first created on Nov. 6, 1942 and intended to recognize those military service members who had performed military duty in the American Theater of Operations during World War II. A similar medal, known as the American Defense Service Medal existed for American defense service prior to the United States entry into World War II.

      The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal is a military award of WWII awarded to any member of the United States Military who served in the Pacific Theater from 1941 to 1945. The medal was first issued as a service ribbon in 1941. A full medal was authorized in 1947, the first of which was presented to General of the Army Douglas MacArthur.

      The Philippine Liberation Medal is a military award of the Republic of the Philippines which was created by an order of Commonwealth Army of the Philippines Headquarters on Dec. 20, 1944. The award was presented to any service member, of both Philippine Commonwealth and allied militaries, who participated in the liberation of the Philippine Islands between the dates of Oct. 17, 1944 and Sept. 2, 1945, and is intended to recognize military service in the last days of WWII when the military of Japan was driven from the Philippines and then to eventually surrender in Sept. 1945.

      The Bronze Star Medal is the fourth-highest individual military award and the ninth-highest by order of precedence in the US Military. It may be awarded for acts of heroism, acts of merit, or meritorious service in a combat zone. When awarded for acts of heroism, the medal is awarded with the "V" device. The medal may be awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard of the United States, after Dec. 6 1941, distinguishes, or has distinguished, herself or himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

      (Information courtesy Wikipedia.org)

  • New Castle resident Francis “Franny” Weaver thought that the ceremony he was attending on Thursday morning was all about his nephew receiving the Bronze Star.
    Turns out it was Weaver’s chance to take a long overdue step into the spotlight, too.
    After US Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) presented his friend and acquaintance Air Force Maj. David Strawbridge with his award for distinguished service during ground operations in Afghanistan from October 2012 to April 2013, Strawbridge revealed the surprise of a lifetime.
    Choking back tears, Strawbridge presented his 88-year-old Uncle Franny with a series of medals from his service during WWII, that Weaver was unable to collect himself after his service was over.
    Coons then pinned the five awards – the Good Conduct, American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, World War II Victory, and Philippine Liberation medals – one by one on Weaver’s blazer as a description of each medal was read aloud.
    Weaver never received his awards because he was busy with life when the majority of WWII medals were issued in 1947; a fire at the National Archives in 1973 further delayed Weaver official recognition.
    “I wanted that slight to be righted,” Strawbridge said.
    Coons’ staff, however, was able to research enough evidence to officially issue Weaver’s medals.
    “I expected one or two, I did not expect the ‘bling’ that he’s wearing now,” Strawbridge said of their efforts.
    Strawbridge, who is an advocate for Delaware veterans, said he fought for a number of years with the Army administration over his uncle’s medals.
    “I was unsuccessful,” Strawbridge said, holding back his emotions as he recounted his efforts. “I reached out to Brendan (Mackie, Coons’ veteran outreach team member) to help me out, and within a month, Senator Coons’ office had all of his WWII medals, and I couldn’t be happier.”
    Weaver was at a loss for words at first, dabbing tears from his eyes as his nephew comforted him at the podium.
    “This guy here, he’s something else. I love him, I love my whole family,” Weaver eventually managed to say about his nephew before breaking into tears.
    After the shock wore off, however, Weaver said it was a big surprise and that he was successfully fooled into thinking the ceremony was only for his nephew.
    “I had no idea,” he said. “It’s an honor … I’m very surprised at the whole thing.”
    One of the hallmarks of Weaver’s generation, Coons said, is the humility they expressed in returning to their jobs and families so diligently after facing the horrors of combat.
    Page 2 of 2 - “They simply got about the business of living,” Coons said.
    After his service ended, Weaver returned to New Castle, where he’s lived, worked and raised a family ever since.
    Strawbridge failed to receive his Bronze Star after his tour was over due to the nature of his mission and unit configuration, Coons said.
    The two met on one of Coons’ visits to Kabul, where Strawbridge recognized him as the Delaware senator, while his travel companion, Arizona Senator John McCain, got the lion’s share of the attention.
    They kept in touch afterwards, with Coons even sending Strawbridge some Tastycakes, which gave him a chance to introduce members of his platoon to the Butterscotch Krimpet.
    Weaver entered into service on May 19, 1944, at Fort Dix, NJ, and trained at Sheppard Field in Texas and in San Francisco.
    He served in the Philippines, where three Japanese soldiers surrendered to Weaver and fellow soldier Al Clayton, of New Castle. His division also oversaw the occupation of Japan after their surrender.
    Weaver was ultimately discharged in May of 1946, ending as an Army Technician Fifth Grade.
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