Legendary Service Members: Army Pfc. Reid F. Clanton – 250 Days Of Hell On Earth

Army Pfc. Reid F. Clanton

One brave Army veteran has finally presented will medals he earned while serving in World War II. The 97-year-old has waited 78 years to receive the medals.

Well-Deserved Recognition

According to Maj. Gen. William Prendergast, deputy commanding general of Army North, “Pfc. Reid Clanton spent more than 250 days in combat across France, Belgium, Germany, and more than 90 days of direct combat in France.”

“The Army North motto is ‘Strength of the Nation’ and sir, you are a shining example of what makes this country so strong.”

Maj. Gen. Prendergast

On Monday, he was presented with the Bronze Star and the Good Conduct Medal, European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three stars, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Combat Infantry Badge.

He was never given the awards originally due to a clerical error. A veteran advocate said that it was a common occurrence for soldiers to leave the military without getting the medals they had earned.

Seeing Combat

Clanton enlisted on May 19, 1943, and his first day of combat was June 6, 1944, with the 29th Infantry Division on Omaha Beach in Normandy. The landing at Omaha Beach saw 3,000 casualties on the first day, making it the “bloodiest” landing of the invasion.

After, Clanton battled in the French countryside before they moved into Belgium. Then, in December 1944, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forest. The soldiers attempted to locate a German 88 mm heavy artillery that was firing on the troops.

To finally find its position, Clanton drew enemy fire, then destroyed the artillery while bullets flew past him. At the award ceremony, Clanton said, “War is hell. We should try to prevent World War III. It’s not the thing to do. We need to get along with each other, understand each other and help each other. We don’t need any more war stuff.”

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