Reed to Present Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Other Medals to 92 Year Old WWII Veteran
CRANSTON, RI – On Friday, January 12th at 3:00 p.m., U.S. Senator Jack Reed will
present Warwick resident and World War II veteran Willard D. “Bud” Voigt with medals
he earned on the battlefield but never received for his courageous service during
the World War II. A veteran of the United States Army, Mr. Voigt will receive the
Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and several other prestigious awards.
Born in Massachusetts in 1925, Willard Voigt grew up in Fall River during the Great
Depression era and graduated from Durfee High School in 1943. That same year he
voluntary enlisted in the U.S. Army and completed basic training at Camp Croft,
South Carolina before being sent to the United Kingdom in March of 1944 in
preparation for the upcoming D-Day landings.
In the weeks after the invasion, Mr. Voigt served with the 90th Infantry Division
throughout Northern France as part of the U.S. Army’s engagement of German forces
throughout the country. In a town called St. Lo, Mr. Voigt was wounded from grenade
shrapnel while he and his comrades attacked a German machine gun nest. While Mr.
Voigt’s platoon succeeded in taking the machine gun nest, a fellow American soldier
was killed by his side.
After the war ended in 1945 he was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, as part of the
Allied occupation force.
Mr. Voigt returned to the United States in April 1946, and with the help of the G.I.
Bill, received a B.A. in Business from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He
married his wife, Gladwyn, and began a successful career as a financial advisor.
In addition to the prestigious Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart, Mr. Voigt will
also be presented with other military honors he earned but never received after
completing his service, including: Good Conduct Medal; European-African-Middle
Eastern Campaign Medal with Bronze Star; World War II Victory Medal; Combat Infantry
Badge; Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII; and Marksman Badge & Rifle Bar.
“Willard Voigt is an American hero. He personifies the courage and extraordinary
selflessness that is characteristic of our World War II veterans,” said Senator
Reed, who first met Mr. Voight three years ago during an honor flight trip for Rhode
Island World War II veterans. “The war changed the course of his life, and the
actions he and his fellow soldiers took helped change the course of history. I am
proud to honor Mr. Voight’s patriotism, bravery, and the sacrifices he made over
seventy years ago as a young soldier, as well as the civic contributions he made as
a citizen after returning home from the war. These medals are a small, long overdue
token of our enduring gratitude. We simply can’t say thank you enough to members of
the Greatest Generation like Willard Voigt.”
Willard’s wife of 64 years, Gladwyn Voigt, and several of their children and
grandchildren are scheduled to attend the event, along with friends and
Today, roughly five percent of the 16 million veterans of World War II are still
with us. Another 500 members of the “Greatest Generation” pass away every day.
Location: Rhode Island National Guard Command Readiness Center (Cafeteria)
645 New London Avenue