MADISON, W.Va. — During a roundtable meeting hosted by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin Feb. 19, the family of local WWII veteran Cornelius Vance received replacements for his medals that had been lost in a fire.
Vance hailed from Chauncey, W.Va. and served in the Fifth Army, 15th Army Group, 85th Custer Division and the 337th Infantry Company B.
Manchin presented the replacement medals to Vance’s wife Bertie and his children Carlene, Donnie, Ronnie, Randall, Pam and Carm.
“As we come together today, let us not forget the sacrifices made by the men and women who have come before us — the great people who have served our nation so bravely. I thank all the veterans and their family members…for the sacrifices they have made to preserve the freedoms we hold so dear — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” noted Manchin.
Vance was awarded a Purple Heart, three Bronze Stars, Good Conduct and European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medals, a WWII Victory Ribbon and an Honorable Service lapel button.
During his service, Vance fought in battles at Rome-Arno, the North Apennines and Po Valley.
While the medals presented Feb. 19 replaced Vance’s original medals, Vance’s first batch medals came more than 25 years after his service ended.
In a military history compiled to attain his first set of medals, Vance recounted stories from his time in World War II that saw his division take 20,000 surrenders at Po Valley, transport a German general to trial and witness the public flogging of the corpses of Mussolini and his wife.
Vance’s daughter Carlene Mowery added, “We were here to honor my father for his love of country, his service to America and his love for his family and community. My father had a servant’s heart. This is all about him today.”
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1729 or by email at [email protected]