Colorado’s oldest living veteran receives long-awaited Silver Star 8 decades late

Maj. Gen. Charles Costanza, the commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division, pins U.S. Army veteran Master Sgt. Harold Nelson, infantryman and soldier Dogface, the Silver Star medal during an award ceremony at Fort Carson, Colorado on October 4, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Bernabe Lopez III, 50th Public Affairs Detachment)

Colorado’s oldest living veteran has just been honored with the nation’s second-highest military honor for his service and sacrifice nearly 80 years ago during World War II.

Harold Nelson, 107, of Denver, received the Silver Star at a ceremony in Fort Carson on Tuesday. Nelson was recognized for six death-defying amphibious landings during the war, FOX 31 Colorado reported.

Nelson began his tour in North Africa and ended it in the infamous bloody battles that turned Anzio, Italy into a living hell. Nelson and his unit saw over 600 days of combat during the war in which he was shot three times, narrowly escaping death.

Nelson had also earned two Purple Hearts for sustaining injuries during the war. He got his Silver Star about 8 decades ago, but because a military records center burned down in a fire in the 70s, he couldn’t receive the recognition he deserved.

“His documents were lost in a fire. A large military archives center burned down in the 1970s and his archives were destroyed,” said Major General Charles Costanza, commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division.

But that didn’t stop Nelson’s daughter from fighting for her father’s honor.

“I can’t tell you how many people we, my family, reached out to try to get this, and personally we kind of gave up. Somehow it all happened and we are here today,” Carolee Soden, Nelson’s daughter, told FOX 31.

More than 160 friends, family, Army soldiers and colleagues were in attendance for the long-awaited award.

“I hope I deserve it. It took a long time to get it, but I finally got it,” Nelson said.

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