WWII veteran awarded Purple Heart 70 years after battle

Posted at 8:16 PM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 20:16:14-05
Ninety-year-old Frederick Stone, a former Navy petty officer from New York, received the Purple Heart on Sunday, more than 70 years after the World War II battle where he gave his heroic service.

In 1945, Stone was injured in battle while aboard the USS Butler gunship off the island of Okinawa, Japan.

Although he was injured, Stone helped his fellow serviceman who was seriously wounded get to safety. After helping, Stone returned to his post.

Stone still has shrapnel embedded in his back, according to CNN affiliate News 12 Long Island.

“I want to thank everybody. I’m really impressed,” Stone said at Sunday’s ceremony. “I’m overwhelmed. I’m almost speechless.”

Over the years, Stone’s war medals have become damaged or lost. In August, New York Rep. Lee Zeldin helped the veteran receive a new Bronze Star.

When Stone was receiving the newly minted medal from the congressman, Zeldin learned about the extent of Stone’s service in battle.

This prompted Zeldin to ask the Navy about awarding Stone his first Purple Heart.

Stone was presented the medal by Zeldin at the Navy Operational Support Center in Farmingdale, New York. He was surrounded by his family, friends and dozens of naval officers.

Cynthia Garippa, Stone’s daughter, was brought to tears during the ceremony.

“There are so many service men and women who are dying for our country,” she said. “And to have him receive this Purple Heart is a great honor.”