WWII veteran Richard R. Perry honored 70 years after brave action

At least officially. Decades passed before the 89-year-old retired University of Toledo professor learned that his brave actions on April 6, 1945, when he rushed to help after an explosion at a post in Germany, had earned him a Soldier’s Medal.

On Thursday, the medal was pinned to his coat in a ceremony in UT’s Doermann Theatre. With clouded vision but a clear voice, Mr. Perry stood on stage and called it a privilege to serve as an Army sergeant as he accepted the accolades with humility.

“I haven’t had so much attention since I was about six months old,” he told the audience of about 100, who later gave him a standing ovation. The recognition might never have happened if not for the reach of technology.

A recent online search for information about his Army unit led Mr. Perry and his wife, Barbara Rondelli Perry, to a retired Army colonel with a trove of records. When Mr. Perry spoke to the colonel, the historian mentioned an order for Mr. Perry’s Soldier’s Medal. It was the first Mr. Perry knew of the medal. In the flurry of war and its aftermath, he never received it.

World War II veteran and University of Toledo Professor Emeritus Richard Perry, 89, is presented with a flag that flew over the Capitol. An inquiry to UT’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corps led the Perrys to Haraz Ghanbari, the university’s director of military and veterans affairs. He arranged for the medal and others to be sent and organized the ceremony.

“Whenever we can come together to say thank you to the men and women that have served this nation, especially our World War II veterans as part of the Greatest Generation, that’s an opportunity that allows us to stop and pause and give thanks for their service,” said Navy Reserve Lt. Ghanbari. Mr. Perry graduated from Waite High School and enlisted in the Army in 1943. Soon, he was in Europe. The world was at war.

He earned the Soldier’s Medal, awarded for heroism not involving enemy contact, for his actions with the 63rd Infantry Division.

Read Full Article