Harley C. Kempter was a second lieutenant in World War II. He flew the P47 Thunderbolt over the Pacific with the 333rd Fighter Squadron, 318th Fighter Group. He was declared missing in action on August 8, 1945 after his plane was shot down over the Pacific Ocean. Approximately one year later, on August 20, 1946, Secretary of War Robert Patton posthumously awarded Kempter the Purple Heart and declared him killed in action. Somewhere along the line, the medal lost its way, but after six decades, the Purple Heart was returned to Kempter’s nephews in a November 2014 ceremony in Washington DC.
Kempter’s Purple Heart was discovered by Ivan Bolgla, a fireman in Augusta, Georgia at an auction. Ivan knew the importance of the medal and he quickly reached out to Purple Hearts Reunited. Through clever detective work, Zac discovered the family. In particular, Zac located Harley Kempter, who was named after his uncle, the World War II hero. The medal was returned to Harley, as well as his brothers, Gene and Bob, as part of the 2014 Wounded Warrior Experience.
Read more about Bolgla’s discovery of the Purple Heart here.
This medal return was generously sponsored by Mylan Technologies.