ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A non-profit called “Purple Hearts Reunited” completed its latest mission, Saturday, by bringing a late soldier’s medal home to St. Louis.
U.S Army Captain Zachariah Fike heads-up the group, “We are returning a lost Purple Heart medal found in a trash bin in Texas, of all places. Unfortunately, the man who earned it only has distant family living. They requested the medal go to a home of honor.”
Captain Fike presented the Purple Heart of Private First Class Alvin T. Smith to the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum for display in downtown St. Louis, “PFC Smith was a U.S. infantry man in World War Two. Unfortunately, he was killed on May 2, 1944 in Anzio Beach, Italy.”
Fike’s research found Smith was just 22 when he died while serving with Company L, 168th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division. His remains are buried in Zion Cemetery in St. Louis. Smith’s additional decorations include the Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, World War II Victory Medal, and Combat Infantry Badge.
Fike said his group currently has about 300 medals it is seeking to return to soldiers or families, “Medals are being found in old abandoned houses, old furniture, and vehicles. Metal detector enthusiasts are finding them in the ground. Believe it or not, a medal was just found in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.”
To learn more about the group or make a donation, visit http://www.purpleheartsunited.org .
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