Posthumous Purple Heart awarded

| June 8, 2012 | 0 Comments
Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski (left), commander, USARPAC, places a Purple Heart medal on an image of Sgt. 1st Class Alepio Solmirin during a ceremony at Fort Shafter, June 1, when Solmirin was posthumously awarded for injuries sustained during the Korean War. Among those in attendance were Solmirin's wife and son Adam (right), who accepted the medal in his father's honor. (Russell Dodson | USARPAC Public Affairs)

Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski (left), commander, USARPAC, places a Purple Heart medal on an image of Sgt. 1st Class Alepio Solmirin during a ceremony at Fort Shafter, June 1, when Solmirin was posthumously awarded for injuries sustained during the Korean War. Among those in attendance were Solmirin's wife and son Adam (right), who accepted the medal in his father's honor. (Russell Dodson | USARPAC Public Affairs)

Russell Shimooka
U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs

FORT SHAFTER — A posthumous Purple Heart medal was presented, here, to a Korean War vet’s family, June 1.

The posthumous medal was awarded to Sgt. 1st Class Alepio Solmirin for combat injuries sustained during the Korean War.

Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, presided over the ceremony, which included the reading of the official orders signed by John McHugh, secretary of the Army.

“Wounded severely in Korea, [Solmirin] had never been awarded the Purple Heart, and it was probably indicative of him that he never brought it up,” Wiercinski said.

“He didn’t need to be awarded or given awards. To him it was part of his duty. But to us [the U.S. Army] it’s part of our duty to make sure our heroes are recognized,” Wiercinski added, pinning the Purple Heart onto a picture of a young Solmirin.

In 1952, then-Pfc. Solmirin was a rifleman with the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, fighting in the Soman-Myon Valley of South Korea. On the night of July 11, 1952, Solmirin was wounded by enemy artillery fire during a ground attack and evacuated with severe burns to his body.

After his convalescence, Solmirin remained in the Army serving in the Vietnam War, where he was awarded his second Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Air Medal and Bronze Star for gallantry.

Solmirin retired from the Army after 25 years of service and has since passed away. Due to an oversight, however, Solmirin was never credited for his combat injuries until today.

“During my father’s passing, I promised I would not stop trying,” said Adam Solmirin, the second oldest of five children.

Adam Solmirin made numerous attempts to correct the oversight, but to no avail. Wiercinski intervened and with the help of his staff, tracked down the missing records.

“There are no words, no gifts that can express the appreciation for what you have done for my dad. It’s absolutely priceless,” said Solmirin who addressed a crowd of more than 100 family members, friends and Soldiers.

 

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