Gloucester family presented with veteran’s World War II medals

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Aug 07, 2019 - 03:12 PM

Photo: Medals received during World War II by Gloucester native George B. Soles, including the Bronze Star, were presented to his widow during a ceremony Saturday at Petsworth Baptist Church.

Medals received during World War II by Gloucester native George B. Soles, including the Bronze Star, were presented to his widow during a ceremony Saturday at Petsworth Baptist Church.

Photo: The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 824, Yorktown, bestowed special honors Saturday to the widow of World War II veteran George B. Soles for receiving a number of medals during his service with the U.S. Army Air Corps. Lucy Soles received the medals during the ceremony at the couple’s longtime church, Petsworth Baptist in Gloucester. Shown, from left, are Terry Bohlinger, Danny Easter and Tony Sayago, who were instrumental in discovering the awards, Lucy Soles, and her daughter, Photo by Regina South

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 824, Yorktown, bestowed special honors Saturday to the widow of World War II veteran George B. Soles for receiving a number of medals during his service with the U.S. Army Air Corps. Lucy Soles received the medals during the ceremony at the couple’s longtime church, Petsworth Baptist in Gloucester. Shown, from left, are Terry Bohlinger, Danny Easter and Tony Sayago, who were instrumental in discovering the awards, Lucy Soles, and her daughter, Photo by Regina South

Photo: A wartiime image of Gloucester native George B. Soles.

A wartiime image of Gloucester native George B. Soles.

After 70 years of being unaware he had earned them, a local veteran’s family was formally presented with the medals he was should have received during his four years in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. The family received the medals during a special ceremony held Saturday at Petsworth Baptist Church, Gloucester.

Lucy Soles, widow of Gloucester native George B. Soles, said it was “a great honor” to receive her late husband’s medals, including the Bronze Star.

Shortly after her husband died in 2017, Mrs. Soles said she was going through a lockbox of her husband’s and came across his Army Air Corps uniform. She said her husband never spoke much about his time in the service, so she asked if someone from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 824 in Yorktown could look at the uniform and provide some information to the family about his service.

As commander of Post 824, Edwin Binder said he asked a friend of the Soles family, Tony Sayago, and Terry Bohlinger, who he said is the best service officer for veterans that he has ever encountered, to research Mr. Soles’s military record. 

“After several months of work, and the assistance of Congressman Rob Wittman’s office, Tony and Terry discovered that George Soles left the Army after World War II without being awarded medals he earned in the war,” Binder said. 

The medals included a Bronze Star, which is awarded for heroism; a Good Conduct Medal, two campaign medals, the American Campaign Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal. 

“Imagine my surprise to find out he had earned these,” Mrs. Soles said. 

On Saturday, an assembly of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Virginia District 1 commander, members representing VFW Post 824, VFW Post 8252 of Gloucester, and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 13 of Yorktown presented the medals to Mrs. Soles, with her daughter and grandchildren by her side.

“After a wait of over 70 years, George B. Soles has finally been recognized for a job well done,” Binder added.

According to Mrs. Soles, her husband was in service from September 1942 and was discharged January 1946. She said he served in Okinawa when the Japanese surrendered during the last major battle of World War II.