EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSHONORING A HERO
from Eyewitness News Online
WWII Vet Finally Receives Medals Earned During Pacific Campaign
Reported by: Kennie Bass
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Kennie Bass
Reported: Mar. 4, 2013 6:52 PM EST
Updated: Mar. 5, 2013 1:24 PM EST
St. Albans , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Announcer: "Although subjected to intense Japanese machine gun fire while carrying his wounded comrade to safety, he noted the position of the hostile weapon and later directed the fire of other members of his squad."
Somehow, Walt Flipek's paperwork got lost in the shuffle. 67 years after America and its allies defeated the Axis powers to win World War Two, Filipek finally received the honors he earned fighting for freedom.
"I done my duty," Filipek said. "I didn't dwell on it. And all the 89 days on the front line it didn't bother me a bit. I wasn't scared. If you were scare you died, right quick. And I done more crawling on my hands and knees than any of them. The ones that stood up and looked around are not here today. The snipers got them and they had snipers everywhere you turned around. We was outnumbered probably 15 to 1. But, we won."
Because of the red tape, Filipek may have never received his Bronze Star and Purple Heart. However, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito have dedicated the power of their offices to helping West Virginia veterans. like this former Marine, whose medals have been lost in the bureaucracy.
"I think it's an inspiration to see Walt receive his medals," Capito said. "He was a young man when he went far across the sea to to fight for our country. And he's very proud of that, we're proud of him and he should have these medals for him and his family."
St. Albans Mayor Dick Callaway and West Virginia Adjutant General James Hoyer joined Capito and a representative from Manchin's office for the ceremony honoring Filipek.
It's an honor and privilege for the national guard to help support our veterans and get awards to an individual that are 70 years and one day removed from his service that day," Hoyer said.
Filipek was recognized for his actions during the invasion of Okinawa.
In addition to the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, during his time in the Marines Filipek earned medals for Good Conduct, China Service, American Campaign, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign and World War Two Victory. He also received Presidential Unit and Combat Action citations.
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