FORT HOOD, Texas - “I joined the seventh day of the seventh month
in the 7th Cav,” said Clinton Woodley.
It had been nearly
seven decades since the 96-year-old, former sergeant wore a 1st
Cavalry Division patch on his left shoulder sleeve.
27, 2015 ... the former G Troop, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry
Division trooper set foot on Cooper Field to receive something
special — awards he earned, but never received during his time in
Sgt. Clinton Woodley, a 96-year-old WWII veteran laughs with Spc. Nathan Melton, a Soldier assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division before an awards ceremony for Woodley at Cooper Field, at Fort Hood, Texas, March 27,
2015. Melton, who knows Woodley from his hometown, said he heard about the ceremony and “had to be there.” Woodley served in the 1st Cav. Div. before WWII and in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Woodley was presented the Bronze Star Medal; the Philippine Liberation Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Medal with four bronze campaign service stars; and the World War II Victory Medal. (U.S Army photo by Sgt. Angel Turner, 1st Cav. Div. PA)
“It is a distinct honor to have Sgt. Woodley, his
daughter Ms. Shari Bankston and her family along with many
friends and supporters with us today so we can present four
awards that he earned more than 70 years ago, and are long
overdue,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Bills, commanding general
1st Cavalry Division.
Woodley enlisted in the U.S.
Army on July 31, 1940, and was initially stationed at Fort
Bliss, Texas, as a mounted cavalryman riding along the
A few years later, he continued
to serve in the First Team as the division underwent a major
“Sgt. Woodley was there when the division
turned in their horses to fight as dismounted cavalry during
the Second World War, and he served with the distinction in
the Pacific theater of operations from 1943-1945,
participating in multiple campaigns to help end the war
against Japan,” Bills said.
During the war, Woodley
served as an infantryman in the campaigns to liberate the
Bismarck Archipelago, Luzon, New Guinea, the Southern
Philippines and the Admiralty Islands, before mustering out
of the Army on Sept. 13, 1945.
At Friday's ceremony,
Woodley was presented the Bronze Star Medal, the Philippine
Liberation Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Medal with four bronze
campaign service stars and the World War II Victory Medal.
Woodley's daughter, Shari Bankston, said she found out
her father may have been eligible to receive additional
awards about a year ago. Pursing the possibility further,
she found out she was right.
“We're very excited to
be here,” Bankston said. “It's unbelievable what we're
feeling. The pride and admiration that everyone has put
forth is utterly amazing.”
Bankston, who stood beside
her father as Bills pinned the awards, said she was very
proud to be Woodley's daughter.
Even though it had
been nearly 70 years since he took off the uniform, Woodley
– who was visibly emotional prior to the start of the
ceremony – lit up with excitement when he saw a familiar
“I got that several years ago,” he said,
pointing to the First Team patch on a Soldier's uniform.
Bankston said she will be placing the awards in a shadow
hanging them on the wall in their family's home,
a place they deserve to be.
Meanwhile, the veteran
trooper had a simple message for everyone involved in the
By U.S. Army Sgt. Angel Turner, 1st Cav. Div. PA
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