WWII Veteran receives Purple Heart decades after service
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -
When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7th, 1941 James Alsobrooks was only 19 years old.
Two years later he found himself fighting Hitler's army on the European front with the Army's 11th division.
During the Battle of the Bulge, Alsobrooks received a shrapnel wound to his arm, back in the days before anesthetics were readily available.
"[The doctor] said, 'Reckon you could tolerate me cutting it out without any [anesthetic]?' I said, 'Well I don't have any choice,'" reminisced the retired Staff Sargeant. "He sewed it up, bandaged it up, and two days later I'm back in combat."
As Allied forces crossed the Rhine river into Germany, Alsobrooks was wounded again.
He left the army in 1945, settling into a civilian role at Fort Campbell that lasted three decades, however he never received his Purple Heart.
Flanked by friends and soldiers, Alsobrooks finally received the honor he earned in combat on Friday.
Major General James C. McConville, Commander of the 101st Airborne Division pinned the Purple Heart on the 90-year-old veteran during a ceremony.
Alsobrooks' daughter, Rita Byrd attended the ceremony.
"Growing up we heard the stories of when my daddy served in World War II, and to see all this come to fruition where he's honored for all the work he did is amazing," Byrd told Nashville's News 2.
Surrounded by the current crop of soldiers, Alsobrooks reminisced on the freedom he fought to preserve, all those years ago.
"It brings back old memories," said Alsobrooks, "It's really uplifting, makes me feel young again."