102-Year-Old WW2 Veteran Receives Purple Heart
A World War II veteran finally received his Purple Heart medal which he rightfully earned eight decades ago. Malcolm Champagne, a 102-year-old veteran, was barely in his 20s when he became a navigator on a B-17 Flying Fortress.
After several missions, 1st Lt. Champagne took part in a raid that took out Germany’s ball bearing factory. That day is now known as ‘Black Thursday’, after the Army Air Corps took plenty of losses despite their success.
“We lost 60 B-17s that day – that’s 600 men. Of those 600 men, 300 survived. I’m one of those 300.”
Champagne survived by parachuting from 20,000 ft, but was taken as a POW for nearly two years after he landed behind enemy lines.
Aside from the Purple Heart, Champagne also received a Prisoner of War Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the US Army Air Force Navigator Wings.
No reason was given as to why it took this long for the veteran to get his medals, but in the end, Champagne was grateful for the recognition.
“I’m flattered, I really am. I’m very very grateful. But I always think about the guys who didn’t make it.”