Tricounty News

Huschle awarded Purple Heart ... 68 years late

By Jean Doran Matua, Editor

A well-packed box arrived by mail last Thursday for Lawrence Huschle of Eden Valley. Inside was a Purple Heart and the certificate to accompany it. No fanfare, no "sorry it's late," just a well-packed box.

Huschle was in the U.S. Army Air Corps, enlisting in 1942. He was a waist gunner in a B-17 bomber. His plane was went down near Bremen, Germany, after they were hit by flak on a bombing mission. The crew evacuated the plane. Two of the crew were killed. Huschle fractured his back when his chute opened. He was taken prisoner of war and spent just days shy of two years in German POW camps, without medical care.

At one point, he was given up for dead. A flag was sent to his parents, even though there was no body to bury. Today, Huschle's daughter Grace has the flag in a special case.

It was eight months before his parents were told he was alive, but they were told precious little else. Huschle says that only three or four letters ever reached his family in all the time he was a POW.

As the Russians approached, in 1945, the Germans marched their POWs westward for several days, deep into the forest wjere tjeu s[emt three weeks digging ditches. That was where Huschle and others were liberated by the Americans. Only arriving at a military hospital in Texas did he learn the extent of his injuries - injuries that qualified him for the Purple Heart. But nothing was done about it until two years ago when Huschle's grandson started investigating. He pressed hard, and succeeded in getting the long-deserved honor for his grandfather.

His family hopes to have a more formal presentation soon.

Huschle feels this is the beginning of something, he's not sure what, but he's looking forward to how it all evolves.

Watch for more of Huschle's story here in the coming weeks.