Local WWII veteran receives Purple Heart almost 70 years later




Posted on April 4, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 4 at 6:41 PM

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -- A local World War II veteran has finally received some long overdue recognition.  Nearly 70 years after fighting in Germany, Lloyd Phillips received several medals Friday at a ceremony in Spokane Valley.
Phillips was on the front lines during the war.  At one point, he was shot as and wounded.

"I ran up the street, about 150 feet, and that's when I got shot in my rifle. My forearms got shot and were full of slivers," said Phillips.
That was April 12th, 1945.  But the 90-year-old veteran remembers it as if it were yesterday.

 "The bullet ricocheted and went through my helmet,” Phillips said. “And I didn't know that ‘till later, it took my helmet off and it had a hole in it."
Phillips was in Urbach, Germany fighting as a member of the 574th AAA Battalion in what is now referred to as the "Battle of the Ruhr Pocket."  Phillips earned a Purple Heart that day, but it would take some time to officially receive that medal.

"I got papers saying they were awarded, but I never got em," he said.
While still in Germany, he lost those papers.  They were accidentally thrown away when a motel room he was staying in was cleaned out.
It wasn't until several years later that family members contacted the military, saying he still needed that Purple Heart.

Friday morning at Phillips’ Spokane Valley home, the vet was presented with the Purple Heart and four other medals, including The World War II Service medal, the American Campaign medal, and the Army of Occupation medal.

While it took 69 years for the Purple Heart to make its way onto Phillips' jacket, he says he doesn't mind. He's just happy it's now there.

"Well, it's kind of thrilling and kind of a fulfillment,” said Phillips. “It feels good, feels rewarding to get them. At least they acknowledged them."