When he died in combat in France on Nov. 10, 1944, Army First Lt. Herschel Thrall Hardin never knew he had made first lieutenant, nor did he know he was entitled to pin 10 medals for heroism on his uniform.
The record was set straight Saturday. An ocean away and sixty-six years after his death, Lt. Hardin's medals were presented posthumously to his brother, Price Thrall, in a military ceremony at the Price Peace Gardens.
Flanked by members of the National Guard, U.S. Army and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Thrall received the following tributes to his brother's courage:
The Distinguished Service Cross (the nation's second-highest military honor) for action on Sept. 5, 1944;
The Silver Star (third-highest award) for action on Aug. 17 and 18;
The Bronze Star Medal, with V Device and two oak leaf clusters, earned on the day of his death, Nov. 10;
The Purple Heart, with two oak leaf clusters for wounds received Sept. 5 and Nov. 10;
American Campaign Medal;
European Theater of Operations Medal with two battle stars;
Combat Infantry Badge (First Award);
World War II Victory Medal;
France Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) Medal;
Presidential Unit Citation.
"I will always be indebted to Sen. Orrin Hatch for his hard work," Price Thrall wrote in a message listing the awards. "It took over two years from the time we started to receiving all the information regarding the records of Herschel."
The information was retrieved from the morning reports of K-Company, 319th Infantry Regiment 80th Division for August, September and November 1944.
Thrall learned of his brother's honors in the course of genealogy research.
THE SILVER STAR:
Is awarded to Second Lt. Herschel Thrall Hardin...for extraordinary heroism while serving with K Company, 319th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry division in the European Theater of Operations, On August 17 and 18th , 1944.
He received this award in connection with military operations against and armed enemy of the United States in France on August 17, 1944; Lieutenant Herschel Thrall Hardin led his platoon in an assault upon Evron-Neanl-LesBouillons-St Gemmes Le Robert, France.
With three men of his platoon pinned down and wounded by enemy machine gun fire, Second Lieutenant Thrall, with total disregard his own life and safety, made three trips and personally removed the three wounded soldiers, one at a time to safety. Second Lieutenant Herschel Thrall Hardin's exemplary performance of duty in active ground combat is in keeping with the finest tradition of the military service.
By Order of Major General McBride.