Honor Marine Heroes
Worthington Receives Overdue Purple Heart
Fifty-seven years after being wounded in action, a Coos
Bay veteran was presented with his Purple Heart Saturday during
Worthington, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, was presented with his
long-delayed Purple Heart during the dedication of a memorial
to another Marine Corps hero, Maj. Gen. Marion E. Carl.
74, was wounded in 1942 by a bayonet thrust from a Japanese soldier
while serving on Guadalcanal with the First Marine Division.
the Purple Heart is normally awarded to all soldiers wounded in
action, on Guadalcanal at that time only soldiers who were evacuated
received the decoration.
you were wounded like me, they just patched you up and sent you
back out," Worthington said in an interview in May.
while talking on the phone earlier this year with another Guadalcanal
veteran, Marine Col. Mitchell Paige, a Medal of Honor winner,
Paige urged Worthington to request the overdue decoration.
did so, but at first was told it couldnt be issued due to
a lack of medical records. But Paige came to Worthingtons
aid, endorsing the request by testifying he was an eyewitness
to Worthingtons wounding.
Saturdays ceremonies, Paige himself was on hand to pin the
decoration on Worthington, making the presentation after the formal
unveiling of the memorial to Carl.
an introduction by Marine First Sergeant James Barnett, Paige
called Worthington to the podium. Accompanied by the applause
of the audience, Worthington walked slowly, but erect and with
dignity, to where Paige waited with a smile.
then read from the official certificate that accompanied the medal:
This is to certify that the President of the United States
of America has awarded the Purple Heart, established by General
George Washington at Newberg, NewYork, August 7, 1782, to Robert
K. Worthington, United States Marine Corps, for wounds received
in action on Guadalcanal during World War II. Given under my hand
in the City of Washington, this fifth day of May, 1999, C.C. Krulak,
General U.S. Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps.
was visibly moved after he walked back to his seat amid the crowd
of dignitaries and military officers who were at Saturdays
he had very little to say after the event, remarking only that
the battle in which he won the medal was "a long ways away."
poor health now due to a serious heart condition which has been
diagnosed as life-threatening, Worthington attended Saturdays
ceremony despite suffering "a mild stroke" the week before, said
his wife, Merle Worthington. "
was determined to come," she said with a smile. "You know those
of The World, 6/15/99