Retired Maj. Gen. Robert M. Worley II presents former 1st Lt. Edward Moppert with a Purple Heart medal Nov. 26, 2011, at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Moppert was wounded and held as a prisoner of war during World War II, and he was never presented with nor did his records reflect receiving the medal. Worley and members of the Air Force Analysis Assessments & Lessons Learned at the Pentagon, worked with Defense Department officials to get his official records corrected. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Raheem Moore)
Retired Master Sgt. Hank Cloutier presents former1st Lt. Edward Moppert with an Eagle Cane during Moppert’s Purple Heart medal ceremony Nov. 26, 2011, at the World War II Memorial in Washington. Moppert was wounded and held as a prisoner of war during World War II, and he was never presented with nor did his records reflect receiving the medal. The Eagle Cane is presented to veterans who have received some manner of leg disability from combat related actions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Raheem Moore)
by Master Sgt. Raheem Moore
Air Force Public Affairs Agency
11/28/2011 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Almost 67 years after being shot down during a bombing raid during World War II, former 1st Lt. Edward J. Moppert Jr. received his Purple Heart medal Nov. 26 at the World War II Memorial here.
A few years ago, Moppert's daughter, Lorene Moppert-Keipper, started organizing his military records and realized he was never formally presented his Purple Heart medal. Through a friend of her husband's, she contacted Maj. Fred Hixson at Air Force Analysis Assessments & Lessons Learned (A9) at the Pentagon and asked if there was anything he could do. Hixson enlisted the help of his co-workers and went about the task of getting the medal presented to Moppert.
Moppert-Keipper's plan was to get her father presented the medal at the World War II memorial here on his 90th birthday. Working with the volunteers from A9, they were able to make this request a reality.
Working behind the scenes, Hixson and Sheila Mulhern, in concert with their team were able to put together the ceremony honoring Moppert's service. Next up was to have the medal presented to Moppert, and retired Maj. Gen. Robert M. Worley II, the former Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs, volunteered.
"I was very excited for my dad, as I know how proud he was to serve his country in World War II", Moppert-Keipper said.
When Moppert and his family arrived at the memorial, they were greeted by Worley, Hixson and Mulhern and he was told he would be formally receiving his Purple Heart.
Worley officially presented Moppert with his Purple Heart, and he was also presented with an Eagle Cane. The cane, which is presented to veterans injured in combat, was presented by retired Master Sgt. Hank Cloutier.
"It was an honor for me to present Lieutenant Moppert with his Purple Heart," Worley said. "He is a part of the greatest generation and part of Air Force history. Without the sacrifices of Airmen like Lieutenant Moppert, our Air Force would not be the greatest air and space force in the world."
Moppert served as an Army Air Force bombardier on a B-24 Liberator during a raid over an oil refinery in Germany. While parachuting from the heavily damaged aircraft, he was shot in the foot while landing. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war for almost seven months at the infamous Stalag Luft I allied POW camp in Barth, Germany.
He was liberated from Stalag Luft I in May 1945 and repatriated back to the U.S. He served another year on active duty and was honorably discharged a year later. Moppert was contacted by the pilot from his last mission, and told him to expect his Purple Heart in the mail in a few weeks. The medal arrived with his name engraved on the back, epaulets and a lapel pin in an embossed leather case, but it was never officially presented.
When asked how he felt about finally being presented with his Purple Heart, Moppert said "I was a bit overwhelmed, very proud and elated. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, and I enjoyed the entire ceremony. I loved meeting all those that were in attendance and felt very special being in the company of all in uniform."