Highly decorated World War II Veteran laid to rest - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Highly decorated World War II Veteran laid to rest

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) -

On Friday family and friends laid to rest a true Heartland hero.

James Tanner, 90, of Sikeston is one of the most decorated World War II veterans in the state of Missouri. 

James "Jim" Tanner is described as a humble man who didn't talk a whole lot about the war.

It even took until 1988 to receive his many medals.

On Friday morning a large crowd gathered at Fellowship Baptist Church in Sikeston to celebrate the life of a loved one and friend.

James Tanner was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1942. Refusing to carry a gun and take the life of another, he became a medic and litter bearer.

He served during World War II in Normandy, France and Rhineland, Central Europe.

During his tour of duty he was awarded four Bronze Stars, the Silver Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, European-African Middle Eastern Theatre Lapel Button, and three overseas bars.

His daughter Sue Rogers remembers a story from war told by her father.

"Daddy was going through a mine field him and another medic carried a wounded warrior on a litter," said Rogers. "They stepped on a mine, it killed the other medic and the wounded soldier on top the litter. Daddy continued on to another injured person and he wrapped a belt around him, put the belt in his mouth and crawled on his belly taking the man back to safety."

He leaves a legacy for five children, 12 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren.

Several members of the family have also followed in Tanner's footsteps. Some have served long careers in the military, and he has two grandchildren currently serving overseas.

"It's in our blood," said Ben Tanner, Jim's eldest son. 

"My daddy is my hero," said Sue Rogers, Jim's daughter. "He's a hero for what he did for our country and is a hero for what he taught us as in values.

He is a member of the greatest generation who risked his own life for others and for us.

"We're proud of him, and he's proud of us I know," said Betty Hampton, Jim's daughter.

James "Jim" tanner was involved in various veterans organizations, and worked as a carpenter for more than 50 years.

He was laid to rest alongside his wife.

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