Medal Comes After 66 Years
(June 11, 2010)
Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Michael
Jensen pins a Purple Heart Medal onto the chest
of World War II-era Coast Guardsman Harry Milton
Daube, 88, during a June 4, 2010 ceremony at
Daube's home in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. Daube is
the last living survivor of the sinking of the
USS Leopold during World War II. U.S. Coast
Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cindy
|JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 8,
2010 – World War II-era Coast Guardsman Harry
Milton Daube, 88, the last living survivor of
the sinking of the USS Leopold, was presented
the Purple Heart Medal during a June 4 ceremony
at his home in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
Daube said he was “very pleased” to receive his
Purple Heart, adding it was a “pleasant
More than 66 years ago, then-Coast Guard Seaman
First Class Daube served on board the USS
Leopold, a 306-foot Coast Guard-manned Edsall
class destroyer that was on escort duty in the
Atlantic Ocean between the United States and
Europe during World War II.
On March 9, 1944, the Leopold was escorting a
27-ship convoy off the coast of Iceland when it
was struck by a torpedo launched from a German
All of the Leopold's 13 officers and
158 of her 186 enlisted
men were lost. Daube and the 27 other survivors,
all enlisted, waited on a life raft to be
rescued after the Leopold split into two pieces
and eventually sank.
After his return to the United States, Daube continued to serve in the Coast
Guard, in New York, until the end of World War II.
Coast Guard officials blamed a paperwork problem on the delayed award.
“I accepted the delay” of the medal, Daube said, noting “we had lost all of the
officers” and the Leopold's personnel records as a result of the U-boat attack.
The World War II veteran said he has suffered poor circulation in his legs ever
since the attack, due to “quite a few hours” of exposure in the icy water.
Daube accepted the Purple Heart at his home in the company of close friends and
a few local Coast Guardsmen.
The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in the world in present use
and the first American award made available to the common soldier. The Purple
Heart was established by Gen. George Washington in Newburgh, N.Y., on Aug. 7,
The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the sitting U.S. president to any
member of an armed force or any civilian national of the United States who has
been wounded or killed in action.
U.S. Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville
American Forces Press Service
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