WW II vet receives top honors decades later - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

WW II vet receives top honors decades later

Richard Will and his wife talked with U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello. Richard Will and his wife talked with U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello.
Will's sacrifice started back in the early 1940s when he enlisted in the United States Army. Will's sacrifice started back in the early 1940s when he enlisted in the United States Army.
"It's been a long time getting here, 66 years ago," said Will. "It's been a long time getting here, 66 years ago," said Will.
Will received the Presidential Unit Citation pin on Monday. Will received the Presidential Unit Citation pin on Monday.
MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) -

They've been called the greatest generation, the young men who headed to the front lines to fight in World War II. But on Monday a Heartland man finally received honors for his service more than 60 years later.

Richard Will and his wife talked with U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello. Costello is in Murphysboro, Illinois to pay tribute to Will's actions more than 60 years ago.

"For the sacrifice and service of people like Richard Will and other veterans, we wouldn't live in the best country in the world with a lot of opportunities that no other people have in the world," Costello said.

Will's sacrifice started back in the early 1940s when he enlisted in the United States Army. During World War II Will's unit was involved in a number of campaigns in Europe. But it would be the one that started on February 7, 1945 that would bring friends and family together Monday.

"We made a crossing from Echternach, Luxemburg across the Saar River into Germany," Will said. "We first set foot into Germany."

Will says it took them three days to make it into Germany.

"They just shelled the whole time we were making the crossing," he said.  

Will received recognition for his bravery after his was honorably discharged from the Army. But he never actually got the Presidential Unit Citation pin until Monday.

Will and his wife smiled for pictures, then the celebration began for the actions taken by Will so many years ago. 

"It's been a long time getting here, 66 years ago," said Will.

Recently found documents helped bring the award to Will.  The Presidential Unit Citation is second only to the Medal of Honor for military awards.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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