World War II Veteran (99) Receives Purple Heart
by Amanda Hay-Caroffino
U.S. Army Installation Management Command
June 26, 2021
The Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. James C. McConville,
presented the Purple Heart to World War II veteran and life-long New
York City resident Mr. Osceola “Ozzie” Fletcher, during a ceremony
on June 18, 2021 at the Fort Hamilton Community Club.
The Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. James C.
McConville, presents the Purple Heart to World War II
veteran and life-long New York City resident Mr. Osceola
“Ozzie” Fletcher on June 18, 2021 at the Fort Hamilton
Community Club here. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Army photo by Sgt. First Class
Fletcher, a 99-year-old WWII veteran, was approved by the
Secretary of the Army to receive the Purple Heart more than 76 years
after being wounded during the Battle of Normandy. Due to some of
the racial inequalities in the United States at that time, Mr.
Fletcher’s story was overlooked for decades, despite rightfully
earning the medals in the historic battle.
personnel gathered to bear witness to this historic occasion.
Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis and leadership from New York City
Police Department and Fire Department of New York gathered with the
Fort Hamilton staff, friends and family of Mr. Fletcher. As the
Fletcher family arrived with his family via NYPD escort, they were
welcomed with a private meeting with McConville and NYPD
Commissioner Dermot Shea.
James Hendon, Commissioner of NYC
Veterans Services, narrated the event, which started with a showing
of the film, “Sixth of June”. The 15-minute long film, featuring
Fletcher, was one of the catalysts to reexamining the events from
1945, ensuring Fletcher be awarded the Purple Heart.
Roosevelt, “Sixth of June” film director, said, “Ozzie’s story is an
integral part in our collective history. We can’t lose sight of
that. We can’t allow the stories to fade or individuals to fade into
The film was followed by a video message from U.S. Senator Chuck
Schumer as well as remarks by McConville.
“We serve with
great Soldiers like Ozzie who set the example for all of us that we
aspire to live up to every single today,” McConville said. “Today we
have the opportunity to pay Ozzie a long overdue tribute for the
sacrifices he made to our nation and free people everywhere.”
Fletcher became injured when the truck he was delivering
supplies with was hit be German fire. After the war, Fletcher left
the Army and went on to serve his city: he served as a Sergeant in
the NYPD, as a high school teacher in NYC Public Schools, and as a
Community Relations Specialist in the Brooklyn’s District Attorney’s
“He has spent his entire life giving to those around
him, whether they were brothers in arms, families, or his
community,” McConville said. “Today it’s Ozzie’s turn to receive,
but we are not really giving him anything today. We’re delivering
him something he’s been entitled to for almost 77 years: Purple
Heart for wounds received.”
Photo boards show World War II veteran Ozzie
Fletcher (99) as a police officer with NYPD and Soldier. (Photo
by Amanda Hay-Caroffino,
U.S. Army Installation Management Command)
Following the presentation of the Purple Heart, Fletcher and his
daughter, Jacqueline Streeter, spoke about their journey to advocate
for this medal, their experiences as a family, and what this meant
for them personally.
“He was hurt doing the job of an
American Soldier,” said Streeter. “I do believe he was looked over
because of that reason [race] and that’s what makes this that much
better. We’re finally taking another look and considering the
experience of all Soldiers.”
Heart is the oldest U.S. military decoration awarded to members of
the armed forces who are wounded by an instrument of war in the
hands of the enemy.
Fort Hamilton’s Garrison Commander, Col.
Craig Martin, said, Brooklyn and New York City represent the best of
America in our diversity and our patriotism.
“Ozzie Fletcher and those from the Greatest Generation reflect
these key attributes and they have deeply invested these and
themselves in the subsequent generations that now live in the New
York City you see today. It is both appropriate and our privilege to
host Mr. Fletcher on Fort Hamilton… in his hometown… a place where
we can equally honor him for receiving this medal as well as for
instilling in us what service should mean to every New Yorker,”
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