North Carolina World War II veteran is finally presented with Bronze Star Medal
By RACHAEL RILEY | The Fayetteville Observer | Published: February 18, 2021
(Tribune News Service) — World War II veteran
Strickland, 95, of
"I don't know so much about talking about it," he said.
But through the efforts of family friend,
"Ormand had been recognized with many decorations for his service," Hudson said during the presentation at
Strickland enlisted in the Army in
He was assigned to the
Strickland was one of the first scouts out in
Stickland was hit in the head.
"I laid there and played dead," he said.
It took his father about two to three days to return to his unit.
About a month later, Strickland was again injured, this time as part of the Rhineland Offensive attempt to secure troop movements across the
Strickland spotted a minefield in the road that he told his company commander about near a bridge that was critical to Army movements.
"That night brought the tanks up and told me now you go down there and lead them tanks into the mine," Strickland said.
But the Nazis attacked again — firing at their tanks — which caused the mines to "blow up" and kill everyone in the tank.
"It blew me out of the front and up a bank, and I was hurt and I was burned and all that stuff, "Strickland recalled.
Strickland was transferred to different hospitals for surgery.
"Finally, I thought I had died and gone to heaven," he said. "I heard a woman's voice, and I hadn't heard a woman's voice in months and she was calling me ... She said, 'Don't you want something to eat?' "
He remembered a visit by Gen.
"He came to a guy, he couldn't see anything wrong with (who) he cussed him out and called him a draft dodger who ought to be out there fighting," Strickland said. "Got to me and didn't say a word 'cause I had my head all bandaged up. He didn't say a word and went right on. He was a rough guy."
Within a month, Strickland was back on the front lines where he served about 18 more months.
In 1946, he was honorably discharged as a private first class.
In speaking to Dawkins about his father's service,
Working with Hudson's military affairs specialist
After nine months of red tape, Strickland's award was ready.
Hudson said he thinks ceremonies like Wednesday's are important to show future generations what a "real hero is."
"It's so important that we preserve their stories, that we tell their stories, that we hold them up and honor them because we're losing them," Hudson said. "We've got to preserve that heritage and make sure that future generations understand what they did to make our freedom possible."