Carroll awarded Bronze Star for WWII service
By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
World War II may have ended 57 years ago, but the heroic acts of the men who fought in that conflict continue to be uncovered.
Among history's uncovered oversights is that of local veteran James "Bill" Carroll. The Brewton native and U.S. Army veteran was awarded this week with the Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for his service as a member of the 1st Platoon, Company C. This Bronze Star is awarded to soldiers who demonstrate valor in combat.
The platoon was originally organized as a small task force. But, the group was able to rout numerically superior enemy forces and successfully capture and hold the towns of Petit-Halleux and Mont, Belgium. Carroll was responsible for the capture or killing of 27 enemy personnel.
With the discovery of the oversight, U.S. Representative Sonny Callahan requested that Carroll be decorated with the Bronze Star.
Carroll said he was honored to receive the medal.
Carroll, who served in the Army for 22 years, also fought in Korea. During his time in the European theater of World War II, Carroll was wounded twice - once at the Battle of the Bulge and once again near Berlin where he and other American forces were awaiting the arrival of allied Russian forces.
For those wounds, Carroll was awarded two Purple Hearts. He has also received a Commendation Medal, Good Conduct medals and several Battle Stars.
He retired from the Army as a sergeant, first class.
Speaking on behalf of Callahan, who was in Washington, during the pinning ceremony was his press secretary Matthew Rhodes.
While Callahan could not attend the event, he did commend Carroll through a letter.
Along with the Bronze Star, Carroll was presented a proclamation from the U.S. Army. It stated, "For heroic achievement on January 1945, in the town of Petit-Halleux and Mont, Belgium, as a member of Company C, 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 90th Infantry Division, in military operations against an armed enemy of the United States during World War II. As a member of the 1st Platoon, Company C, which was organized as a small task force and routed the numerically superior enemy force and successfully captured and held the towns of Petit-Halleux and Mont, Belgium, Private Carroll was responsible for the capturing and killing of 27 enemy personnel. Private Carroll's exemplary performance of duty in active ground combat was in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion and the United States Army."
After receiving the award, Carroll thanked many people who he said had supported him, including Brewton Mayor Ted Jennings, the American Legion and American Legionaires as well as his family and friends.