George Watts has been waiting 70 years for the U.S. Army to issue the medals he earned in a segregated unity during World War II. Watts, 93, now has a powerful ally.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), the Senate minority leader, met with the Buffalo, New York resident on Tuesday to call on the Army to correct the apparent injustice, the Army Times reports.
Schumer said in a statement that the segregated military during that “shameful period” failed to recognize the sacrifice of Black soldiers.
“Unfortunately, despite putting his life on the line for his nation, he never received medals he rightly deserves for his service,” added the senator.
Watts, who served in the Philippines from 1943 to 1946 in a combat engineers unit, said none of the Black soldiers he served with received their decorations, The Times reported.
The medals—the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the Philippine Liberation Medal—were due upon his separation from the military.
“I’m not blaming anybody,” Watts told public radio station WBFO. “Just that I never knew how to get them. I thought eventually somebody would decide that the man didn’t have his medals and would get ’em for me.”
According to The Times, Watts is the last-known living World War II veteran in Erie County, New York who served in a segregated unit. WBFO said just 4 percent of Americans who served in the war are still alive.
Happy Birthday, Barack Obama: Photos That Will Make You Miss Your Favorite President
1. Barack Gives Daughter Malia a KissSource:Getty 1 of 29
2. Michelle and Barack tell the kids a storySource:Getty 2 of 29
3. Michelle and Barack KissSource:Getty 3 of 29
4. Michelle and BarackSource:Getty 4 of 29
5. First Family PortraitSource:Getty 5 of 29
6. Two TermsSource:Getty 6 of 29
7. Michelle and Barack host a State DinnerSource:Getty 7 of 29
8. Barack Obama and Michelle ObamaSource:Getty 8 of 29
9. Sunday ChurchSource:Getty 9 of 29
10. Barack Obama and his daughter Malia ObamaSource:Getty 10 of 29
11. A Family AffairSource:Getty 11 of 29
12. Flashback To The Old DaysSource:Pete Souza 12 of 29
13. Happy Birthday!Source:Getty 13 of 29
14. Candidly AwesomeSource:Pete Souza 14 of 29
15. Historic First FamilySource:Getty 15 of 29
16. Ice Cream TreatSource:Getty 16 of 29
17. TV TimeSource:Pete Souza 17 of 29
18. Hawaii Trip!Source:Getty 18 of 29
19. Obama Loves Team USA & His WifeSource:Getty 19 of 29
20. Reading TimeSource:Pete Souza 20 of 29
21. Family SupportSource:Getty 21 of 29
22. Supporting MomSource:Pete Souza 22 of 29
23. Giving Back On MLK DaySource:Getty 23 of 29
24. Obamas Give Back To The CommunitySource:Getty 24 of 29
25. Always Supporting Small BusinessesSource:Getty 25 of 29
26. Obama SwaggerSource:Getty 26 of 29
27. Laughs & TurkeysSource:Getty 27 of 29
28. Christmas With The ObamasSource:Getty 28 of 29
29. 50th Anniversary Of March On SelmaSource:Pete Souza 29 of 29
Black World War II Veteran Still Owed Service Medals was originally published on newsone.com