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The Military Order of the Purple Heart

For Immediate Release

Fredericksburg, TX - December 12, 2012

Purple Heart Medals for Two WWII Heroes Finally Find a Home

On December 16, 2012, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Department of Texas, Purple Hearts Reunited, Inc., and the Admiral Nimitz Foundation will hold a joint ceremony at the National Museum of the Pacific War, 310 East Austin St., Fredericksburg, Texas, to honor two military heroes who died in WWII and whose Purple Heart medals were subsequently lost or stolen.  Their Purple Heart medals are being donated to the museum by Captain Zachariah Fike, founder of Purple Hearts Reunited.

1SGT Frank V. De Paoli, US Army, was killed on October 24, 1944.  As a Japanese prisoner of war (POW), he was onboard the "Arisan Maru" which was transporting 1,781 US and Allied military and civilian POW's to Japan for internment in forced labor camps when he was hit by a torpedo strike from an American submarine.  Of the prisoners onboard, only nine survived. 1SG De Paoli was among those who died on the ship and was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart medal.  His medal was found in a Sherriff’s Department evidence room by Detective Brian Cambell of Delray Beach, Florida. 

Lt. Cmdr. Francis Elwood Brown, USN, SN: 0-072342, was killed in action on October 7, 1943, while commanding Submarine USS S-44 (SS-155).  The submarine was sunk by a Japanese Destroyer near the Kurile Islands in the Pacific Theater, killing all 55 hands onboard.  LCDR Brown was born on May 22, 1911 in Reno, Nevada and was a graduate of the US Naval Academy.  His medal was found and given to an MOPH Chapter in Arizona. 

This ceremony is made possible through the selfless efforts of CPT Zachariah Fike, an active duty member of the Vermont National Guard, who started “Purple Hearts Reunited” two years ago.  CPT Fike purchases or receives lost or stolen Purple Heart medals and locates the closest family member so that he can return the medal to them.  If no living relative can be located or they do not want the medal, he will find an acceptable repository for the medal, such as a museum.   To donate to this program, email Captain Fike at: crossfitnation@hotmail.com, or go online to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Purple-Hearts-Reunited-INC/252965351489307

The Admiral Nimitz Foundation, in agreement with the Texas Historical Commission, manages and provides financial support to the National Museum of the Pacific War which, in turn, provides national leadership in articulating the history and lessons learned from the Pacific-Asiatic Theater of Operations during World War II.  It also preserves the legacy of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and the men and women who served in this theater of operations, and facilitates programs that honor and support all veterans, past and present.

The organization now known as the "Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.," (MOPH) was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all combat wounded veterans and active duty men and women who have received the decoration. Chartered by the Congress, The MOPH is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH and its Ladies Auxiliary promote Patriotism, Fraternalism, and the Preservation of America's military history. Most importantly, through veteran service, they provide comfort and assistance to all Veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance.  Through the VAVS Program, MOPH volunteers selflessly provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA medical facilities and State Veterans Homes.

For information contact:
National Public Relations Director, John Bircher, 352-753-5535
Email: PublicRelations@Purpleheart.org
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MOPH on Facebook
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