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From the Vault: Purple Heart After 47 Years

By Staff | Mar 25, 2016

More than 47 years after he had earned it, Kittil Kittilson of Rugby was awarded the Purple heart Medal at a simple ceremony attended by members of the Rugby American Legion Post. The Purple Heart is awarded for being wounded in action in wartime. For some reason unknown, this world War I Veteran had to wait out World War II, the Korean Conflict, and numerous so-called “Police Actions” and crises, to say nothing of the Vietnam War, before receiving his medal.

Kittilson was inducted into the U.S. Army at Rugby on April 29, 1918. After training at Camp Dodge, Iowa, he was assigned to Company L, 358th Infantry and was sent overseas with the A.E.F. on June 20,1918. He was in action in the Defensive Sectors of Villersen-Haye and Puvenelle (Lorraine) and then went into battle in the great American Offensive at St. Mihiel. On September 21, 1918, he received hand grenade wounds in his right side. He returned to the States and was discharged at Camp Dodge on March 7, 1919.

The years rolled by and to Kittil and his fellow Americans it soon became obvious that the “war to end all wars” in which he had served his country with distinction, had failed to accomplish its purpose. Kittil became a member of the American Legion, the Veterans organization which was born in Paris during the week of March 16, 1919, and joined in its efforts to keep our nation prepared. He is currently a member of Clarence Larson Post No. 23 of Rugby, which will honor the Birthday of the American Legion at its annual Birthday Dinner on Saturday, March 19, at Andrew’s Steak House.

Along in the fall of the 1965, Kittil began to think it would be nice to have the actual medal which had rightfully been his for all these years, but which he had never received. He contacted the office of John C. McClintock, the Pierce county and American Legion Service Officer, and through his efforts and after unscrambling a relatively small amount of red tape, the Medal was received.

Lowell Plum, Commander of the Clarence Larson Post, and Morris Halvorson, Past Commander and presently serving as Third District Deputy of the North Dakota Department of the American Legion, arranged the presentation at the Strand Studio in Rugby and were on hand to offer their congratulations as Past Commander McClintock presented the Purple heart to Mr. Kittilson. Clarence Larson Post No. 23 salutes Kittil Kittilson, and all Veterans of all wars, on this occasion.

– From the Tribune Archives, dated March 17, 1966

Re-typed by Piper Laughridge, Tribune Intern

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