Perlmutter Holds Ceremony for WWII Veterans Who Never Received Medals

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Lakewood, CO, July 2, 2015 | comments

Today, Congressman Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) presented three local World War II veterans who were Prisoners of Wars (POW) with medals they earned during their service but never received.  The veterans honored were Lakewood residents, First Lt. Clayton Nattier (92), U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Air Force and Corporal John Pederson (89), U.S. Army, and Westminster resident, Staff Sergeant Keith Hereford (89), U.S. Army, Army Air Corps.  After working with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) for almost a year, Congressman Perlmutter’s office was able to secure the medals and planned a formal ceremony to present the medals to the three veterans.

“It is a special privilege to honor these three heroes and award them with long overdue medals for their service to our country.  Ensuring our nation’s veterans receive the awards and decorations they are entitled is a great responsibility and honor,” said Rep. Perlmutter.  “I am so pleased we can present First Lt. Clayton Nattier, Corporal John Pederson, and Staff Sergeant Keith Hereford with these medals to recognize their sacrifice and service in defense of our freedom.”

First Lieutenant Nattier served in the United States Army Air Corps from January 1942 to December 1945. During his time as a pilot, he served in the United Kingdom with the 1st Bomb Division, 8th Air Force, 306th Bomb Group, and 369th Bomb Squadron.  During his 16th combat mission, in September 1944, his B-17 aircraft was badly damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire, and the crew was unable to control a fire in the cockpit. At that time, he and five other crew members parachuted out of the aircraft mid-flight. Lieutenant Nattier was captured by enemy forces and sent to the German Prisoner of War camp, Stalag Luft I in Barth, Western Pomerania (Prussia) after spending three weeks in a German hospital. The Prisoner of War camp was liberated by the Russian Army on April 30, 1945, and in December 1945 he separated from active duty.  Lieutenant Nattier continued to serve in the Air Force Reserves until 1952.

First Lieutenant Nattier was presented with the following awards:

·         Purple Heart Medal

·         Air Medal w/ 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters

·         Prisoner of War Medal

·         Good Conduct Medal

·         American Campaign Medal

·         European-African-Middle East Campaign Medal w/ 3 Bronze Service Stars

·         World War II Victory Medal

·         Honorable Service Lapel Button

Staff Sergeant Hereford served in the United States Army and Army Air Corps from November 1943 to November 1945. During his service as B-17 aerial gunner, he served a year of duty with 1st Division, 8th Air Force, 305th Bomb Group, and 365th Bomb Squadron in Chelveston, England.  During Staff Sergeant Hereford’s ninth mission his aircraft was shot down over Holland where he was captured after successfully parachuting to the ground. He was subsequently sent to the German Prisoner of War camp, Stalag Luft 4, in Gross Tychow (Prussia). The camp was liberated by the British forces on May 2, 1945, and in November 1945, he separated from active duty. 

Staff Sergeant Keith Hereford was presented with the following awards:

·         Purple Heart Medal

·         Air Medal

·         Prisoner of War Medal

·         American Campaign Medal

·         European-African-Middle East Campaign Medal w/ 3 Bronze Service Stars

·         World War II Victory Medal

·         Army Air Corps crewmember badge (AAF wings)

·         Honorable Service Lapel Button

Corporal Pederson served in the United States Army from June 1944 to February 1947. During his service as a rifleman and infantryman, he was assigned to the 42nd Infantry “Rainbow” Division, Company A, 232nd Infantry Regiment. After Corporal Pederson’s arrival in France, he was transferred to the 7th Army, and participated as a member of “Task Force Linden” near Strasbourg, France.  On January 18, 1945, in the Battle of Sessenheim, he was captured by the German Army and sent to the German Prison camp, Stalag 5A, in Malschbach Ludwigsburg Wurttemberg 49-09. He was liberated by the British Army in April 1945, and eventually returned to the U.S. after being  discharged in February 1947.

Corporal John Pederson was presented with the following awards:

·         Bronze Star Medal

·         Prisoner of War Medal

·         Army Good Conduct Medal

·         American Campaign Medal

·         European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal w/ 1 Bronze Service Star

·         World War II Victory Medal

·         Combat Infantryman Badge, 1st Award

·         Honorable Service Lapel Button

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