WILMINGTON, Del. – WWII Army Technician Fifth Grade Francis “Franny” Weaver thought he was coming as a spectator to a ceremony hosted by Senator Coons on Thursday honoring his nephew, Air Force Major David Strawbridge.
But Senator Coons and Maj. Strawbridge had a special surprise in store for the WWII veteran. After presenting Maj. Strawbridge with the Bronze Star – one of the military’s highest honors – for his distinguished service in Afghanistan, Senator Coons surprised Weaver with five long-overdue medals for his service during the Second World War.
Maj. Strawbridge, who earned the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, came to Senator Coons with the idea to surprise his uncle after first attempting, unsuccessfully, to recover Weaver’s medals from the U.S. Army. Although Weaver’s military records were destroyed in the National Archives fire of 1973, Senator Coons’ staff were able to research enough evidence to issue the medals.
Senator Coons presented Weaver with the Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Philippine Liberation Medal for his exemplary service as a member of the Army 23rd Infantry Division between 1944 and 1946.
“One of the things that is the hallmark of the Greatest Generation is their humility,” Chris said. “That they returned home from service to our country around the world and simply got about the business of living.”
“One of the most satisfying parts of this job is being able to help America’s veterans receive the honors that they have earned and that they so richly deserve,” he continued.
Senator Coons first met Maj. Strawbridge during his visit to Kabul, Afghanistan in late January 2013. The two struck up a conversation and have kept in touch ever since.
“I am deeply grateful for your service to our nation and I appreciate everything that you’ve done for our freedom, for our world, and for the United States in your service in Afghanistan,” Senator Coons told Maj. Strawbridge during the ceremony.