On 01 April 2016 at 11am, a long lost WWII Purple Heart was returned to the brother of a WWII hero PVT Harry J. Rudy. The ceremony took place at American Legion Post 77 located at 12 East Spring Street, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729.
Private (PVT) Harry J. Rudy (SN: 36828450) was born 07 August 1920 in Chippewa Falls, WI, one of 12 Children of Mary and Clarence Rudy. He would later enlist in the United States Army along with his three brothers Roswell, Stanley, and Harold. PVT Rudy was assigned to the 337th Infantry Regiment, 85th Infantry Division. During combat action on 19 September 1944 in Italy, PVT Rudy was killed in action. His body was never recovered and still remains missing to this day. He has a memorial in the Florence American Cemetery, Florence, Italy, Plot A, Row 4.
On 15 September 1944, the 337th were ordered to move towards Luco di Nagello, Italy. Commanders of the regiment were quoted as saying “This is the worst terrain we have ever seen”. The regiment successfully attacked and secured Mt. Pratone on the 17th and the 337th plucked its fair share of triumph in the smashing of the Gothic Line. The following day, the regiment continued their attack to Mount Fellone. They encountered enemy resistance in small pockets and came under heavy shelling on the 19th, the day that PVT Rudy died.
PVT Rudy was born on 07 August, which happens to be National Purple Heart Day.
His Awards and Decorations consist of the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, EAME Medal, WWII Victory Medal, and Combat Infantry Badge.
The medal was rescued by the organization Purple Hearts Reunited through an online military collector overseas in Europe. Although the mystery of the medal ending up overseas and out of the family hands may never be solved, the organization finds peace in the fact that the medal and memory of PVT Harry J. Rudy will be reunited with his brother and extended family in Chippewa Falls.
Returning the medals on behalf of Purple Hearts Reunited, was members of their Valor Guard, Mr. Michael Brennan, a Veteran and Gold Star Father, and Mr. Jason Johns, a Veteran as well and Purple Heart recipient.