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LocalA Veterans Day hero

December 1, 2015

In the U.S., the Medal of Honor is a special award for very brave soldiers. Only 3,512 soldiers have received the Medal of Honor since 1861. 461 soldiers received the Medal of Honor in World War II (WWII). Now only 8 men are alive. One of those soldiers is a Washington man, Wilburn Ross (93).

Ross came a Medal of Honor hero for his actions on Oct. 30, 1944 near St. Jacques, France. He stayed with his machine gun for 36 hours and by himself stopped many German soldiers from moving forward. Some of the enemy soldiers came as close as four yards away, but they couldn’t stop him.

Soldiers usually receive their Medals of Honor from the President of the U.S. in a special ceremony at the White House. However, Ross and four other soldiers of the 31st Army Division received their awards on April 14, 1945 at Zeppelin Field in Nuremberg, Germany. Hitler held many large gatherings there.

Ross stayed in the army until 1964. In 1983, the postal service put his face along with other Medal of Honor heroes on the $.20 stamp and again on Veterans Day 2013, a stamp with Ross’ face became part of a Forever stamp folio.

Ross is still healthy and lives in Dupont, WA. He is a man of few words. A reporter asked him why he stayed to fight the Germans. He said, “I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.”

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Published December 2015

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