WWII Veteran Receives Medals

In 1943 at the young age of 18, Gilberto Torres found himself drafted into the United States Army during World War II. While training in South Hampton, Great Britain Torres and his fellow soldiers were sent to reinforce the invasion of the beaches of Normandy.

 “We didn’t even know the invasion was going on so they needed some recruits like us you know replacements so there we go. It was quick by the time we got to the beach there was still dead bodies floating around the beach there. It was pretty bad,” Torres said.

Receiving orders to capture the town of St. Malo, Torres joined the 83rd Infantry Division. On August 7, 1944 the troop came under enemy fire and Torres was hit in the forearm and bullets grazed his upper right torso. Hospitalized in Liverpool, England, Torres was discharged as a Corporal receiving a Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, American Campaign Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Good Conduct Medal, Honorable Service Lapel and European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal. Unfortunately, Torres medals were stolen from his home. This is when some members of the community organized to have replacement medals formally presented to Torres in a special ceremony.

“We’re just pleased at the happiness in the corporal and in his family and we’re just happy we were able to do it,” Chief Master Sergeant U.S. Air Force Retired Bill Brown said.

Surrounded with friends and family Torres was not only presented with replacement medals, but Congressman Mike Conaway presented him with a United States flag, folded and framed, that once flew over the U.S. Capitol.

“I never expected nothing like this really. And I was surprised I mean very surprised . And then all these people are beautiful and friendly. I’ll never forget this I mean it’s a big surprise,” Torres said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.