MONDOVI, Wis. (WEAU) – It was a day decades in the making for a local U.S. Air Force veteran as he received eight medals 67 years after fighting for our freedom in World War II.
Doug Ward is a witness to history.
The western Wisconsin native spent three years in the Air Force in the thick of the World War II, flying missions over North Africa, Italy and Germany.
He said he mostly flew B-17s out of England.
“We could see the ships down there on D-Day crossing the channel. Like they said you could almost walk across it there was so many. It was quite a sight,” Ward said.
After the war, Ward went home and started a career as a mail carrier in the Mondovi area.
Though his days as an airman always stuck with him, there was something missing, eight medals for his service that he said were never issued.
WEAU 13 News was there on Sunday at Log Cabin Airport as Ward finally received those honors.
“It's an honor. Anytime you get a medal it’s an honor,” Ward said.
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind said he met Ward several years ago and wanted to right a decades-old wrong.
“We started working on that and the paperwork to make sure the silent heroes in our community are getting the recognition and the awards they deserve,” Kind said.
The local 89-year-old still lives an active life, running a sawmill and the Log Cabin Airport.
“I like to be outdoors and I like to meet people. I enjoy it every day,” Ward said.
Ward stressed the importance of showing gratitude to veterans returning home from war.
“They never had the brass band out. We just got out and started looking for a job,” Ward said.
And said he wants people to know how much can be learned from listening to stories and struggles of the Greatest Generation.
“Your determination in life can be so much of what you can do,” Ward said.