All honorably discharged Word War II veterans who earned a Combat Infantry Badge or Combat Medical Badge are authorized the Bronze Star Medal.
The history of the Bronze Star Medal goes back to 1944. In a memorandum to President Roosevelt in February 1944, the Chief of Staff of the Army, General George C. Marshall, wrote:
“The fact that the ground troops, Infantry in particular, lead miserable lives of extreme discomfort and are the ones who must close in personal combat with the enemy, makes the maintenance of their morale of great importance. The award of the Air Medal have had an adverse reaction on the ground troops, particularly the Infantry Riflemen who are now suffering the heaviest losses, air or ground, in the Army, and enduring the greatest hardships.”
Based on General Marshall’s memorandum, President Roosevelt authorized the Bronze Star Medal by Executive Order 9419 dated 4 Feb 1944, retroactive to 7 Dec 1941. A study conducted in 1947, noted the hardship indicated by General Marshall’s memorandum spoke of the hardships that were borne by soldiers who were awarded the Combat Infantry Badge or Combat Medical Badge. As a direct result, the policy was implemented and authorized the retroactive award of the Bronze Star Medal to soldiers who had received the Combat Infantry Badge or Combat Medical Badge during WWII.
In 2008, the Ottawa County Veterans Service Office became aware of Executive Order 9419. At that time Operation Restore Honor went into affect and the office began to comb through all World War II records that are on file in Ottawa County. Nearly 200 veteran records were found to either have the Combat Infantry Badge or Combat Medical Badge. There were also press releases issued to local newspapers and flyers distributed throughout Ottawa County looking for eligible veterans.
On September 7, 2009, a ceremony was held at the Port Clinton Performing Arts Center. Thirteen World War II veterans personally received the Bronze Star Medal for their service and another 78 family members received the Bronze Star medal on behalf of their loved one.