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Vets Views: May 18 ceremony will honor WWII hero Lloyd C. Hawks

Greg Remus

I have the great privilege of working with Hubbard County veterans and their families as the local Veteran Service Officer. Every veteran has a personal story about their experience in the military. Many of theses veterans are true heros. They are proud of their service and you should be proud of them too.

I was recently informed Hubbard County has a Medal of Honor recipient buried in Greenwood Cemetery. He is Lloyd C. Hawks. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for action in W.W. II. He was the first medic in the military to receive this medal. He joined the Army from Park Rapids and was quickly deployed to Europe. Lloyd Hawks reached the rank of Sergeant First Class and continued to serve in the Army until his death on Oct. 26, 1953.

His gravesite has no markings showing he received the Medal of Honor. His family has given the American Legion permission to set up a ceremony to dedicate his gravesite and place the appropriate markings for such a special man. The ceremony will be at Greenwood Cemetery, 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 18, 2012.

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. It is bestowed by the President upon members of the U.S. Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.

Lloyd Hawks citation:

"For gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 30 January 1944, at 3 p.m., near Carano, Italy, Pfc. Hawks braved an enemy counterattack in order to rescue 2 wounded men who, unable to move, were lying in an exposed position within 30 yards of the enemy. Two riflemen, attempting the rescue, had been forced to return to their fighting holes by extremely severe enemy machinegun fire, after crawling only 10 yards toward the casualties. An aid man, whom the enemy could plainly identify as such, had been critically wounded in a similar attempt. Pfc. Hawks, nevertheless, crawled 50 yards through a veritable hail of machinegun bullets and flying mortar fragments to a small ditch, administered first aid to his fellow aid man who had sought cover therein, and continued toward the 2 wounded men 50 yards distant. An enemy machinegun bullet penetrated his helmet, knocking it from his head, momentarily stunning him. Thirteen bullets passed through his helmet as it lay on the ground within 6 inches of his body. Pfc. Hawks, crawled to the casualties, administered first aid to the more seriously wounded man and dragged him to a covered position 25 yards distant. Despite continuous automatic fire from positions only 30 yards away and shells which exploded within 25 yards, Pfc. Hawks returned to the second man and administered first aid to him. As he raised himself to obtain bandages from his medical kit his right hip was shattered by a burst of machinegun fire and a second burst splintered his left forearm. Displaying dogged determination and extreme self-control, Pfc. Hawks, despite severe pain and his dangling left arm, completed the task of bandaging the remaining casualty and with superhuman effort dragged him to the same depression to which he had brought the first man. Finding insufficient cover for 3 men at this point, Pfc. Hawks crawled 75 yards in an effort to regain his company, reaching the ditch in which his fellow aid man was lying."

Lloyd Hawks is a hero. I hope many of you will join us at this event.

As always the purpose of the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office is to provide assistance and support to eligible veterans, their dependents and survivors in obtaining benefits through the State and Federal Departments of Veterans Affairs, and to provide benefit counseling, claims service, referral and assistance in a variety of other programs. You can contact me at the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office at 201 Fair Ave, Park Rapids, 732-3561. Have a great day!

Please note: I will be in Laporte at the Lakeport Town Hall from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, March 16.