On 24 July 2015, at 3pm, a long-lost Purple Heart Medal of a fallen WWII Hero, PFC James Thomas Hull, was reunited with his last surviving brother at a ceremony at the Pecan Valley Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in San Antonio, TX.
Private First Class (PFC) James Thomas Hull (SN: 20803554) was born 24 January 1919 to Rufus C. and Pocohontas “Honto” Johnson Hull in Moulton, Texas. He had two brothers and two sisters. He would later enlist on 25 November 1940 into the United States Army. He served with Company L, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division in WWII and sacrificed his life on 09 September 1943 at Salerno, Italy.
The first World War II amphibious assault in Europe by any American division was by the 36th Division near Salerno (Paestum area), Italy, on 9 September, 1943. Chaos on the beach led to terrible casualties to the 141st, one of them being PFC Hull.
PFC Hull’s awards and decorations consist of the following: Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal w/ Campaign Star and Arrow Head Device, WWII Victory Medal, and Combat Infantry Badge.
Purple Hearts Reunited was contacted in early June of 2015 by Mr. Paul C. Pfeifer (SMSgt Ret USAF), Adjutant of American Legion Post 421 in Highland, CA. Someone in the local area discovered the medal while cleaning out a home several years ago. This concerned citizen turned it in to the Post to see if they could return it. Members of the Post had heard about Purple Hearts Reunited and reached out for assistance with the search. Within hours, Purple Hearts Reunited had located the family in San Antonio, Texas.
The medal was presented to Mr. Cecil C. Hull, PFC’s Hull’s last remaining sibling and a Purple Heart recipient and WWII veteran himself. The Director of Purple Hearts Reunited Valor Guard, LtCol (R) Mitchell “Taco” Bell, who recently retired from the United States Marine Corps as an aviator with 29 years of service, conducted the ceremony. To preserve the medal in the future, the family has decided to donate the medal to the Texas Army National Guard.
Maj. Gen. Lester Simpson, the Commanding General of the 36th Infantry Division, received PFC Hull’s framed medals on Friday, as well as a lost Purple Heart belonging to PVT Joseph Eugene Bone of the same Division, and will display the medals at the Division headquarters at 2200 West 35th St, Austin, Texas 78763, where they will be honored and protected by current and future soldiers.
This joint return ceremony was generously sponsored by the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation.
Find out more about this return:
Fox 29 >> Lost Purple Heart ‘Reunited’ With WWII Soldier’s Family
ABC KSAT 12 >> WWII Veteran Receives Older Brother’s Purple Heart