FORT CARSON, Colo. (KDVR) – He may be Colorado’s oldest living veteran at a staggering 107 years old. And he’s finally received the recognition he earned nearly 80 years ago in World War II.
Harold Nelson of Denver was awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s second-highest military honor, in a ceremony at Fort Carson on Tuesday.
Nelson made six amphibious landings during the war, starting in North Africa and ending with an especially bloody fight in Anzio, Italy. In total, his unit saw more than 600 days of combat during World War II. Nelson was shot three times, had a grenade thrown at him and survived several other brushes with death.
He earned two Purple Hearts during the war. And he earned a Silver Star, but a major roadblock prevented him from receiving it.
“His paperwork was lost in a fire. A big military records facility burned down in the ’70s and his records were destroyed,” said Maj. Gen. Charles Costanza, commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division.
For years, Nelson’s daughter has fought to get him the honor he deserves.
“I can’t tell you how many people we, my family, have contacted to try to get this, and personally we kind of gave up on it. Somehow this whole thing went through and we’re here today,” said Carolee Soden, Nelson’s daughter.
WWII Silver Star veteran honored by FOX31
At a morning ceremony, with more than 160 friends, family and Army soldiers looking on, the long-overdue Silver Star medallion was pinned to Nelson’s jacket lapel.
“I hope I deserve it. Took a long time to get it, but I finally did,” Nelson said.
It’s no Silver Star, but FOX31 is presenting Nelson with another honor. We’re naming him one of our Serving Those Who Serve Heroes of the Month, thanks to our sponsors Plumbline Services, Ford and the Leo Hill Charitable Trust.
To nominate a veteran, active-duty service member, military family member or volunteer for Hero of the Month honors, visit the nomination page.