From the County Executive's Office:
Broome County Executive Debbie Preston today presented six service medals to James E. Wood, a Binghamton resident who served in the Army Air Force during World War II.
Wood joined the Army Air Force in March of 1943 and completed 25 combat missions over enemy-occupied territories, in service of the United States.
In July of 1944 the B-24 Liberator Bomber Wood was on was shot down over Hungary. He was injured but survived the fall; many of his fellow servicemen did not.
For the next 10 months, Wood was interned as prisoner of war at a camp in Nazi Germany.
He was finally liberated in on May 2nd, 1945; he returned home in November of that year.
Today, after nearly 70 years, Wood was presented with the following medals:
- The Army Good Conduct Medal;
- The American Campaign Medal;
- The European, African & Middle Eastern Campaign Medal;
- The World War II Victory Medal;
- The Air Medal; and
- The POW Medal.
“The extraordinary service of Jim Wood is a testament to an incredible generation, who gave of themselves to protect the rights of citizens from across the globe,” said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston. “It’s with the greatest respect and highest honor that we award six medals to him today, nearly 70 years after he was liberated as a prisoner of war. Throughout all of my 444 days as County Executive, today is my proudest.”
“Jim Wood is one of only a couple living POW’s here in Broome County,” said Veterans Services Director Brian Vojtisek. “It wasn’t uncommon for veterans to receive medals years after their honorable discharge from the service, but 70 years is an astonishing lapse of time. We are incredibly proud to present these medals today.”
Wood was also presented an American Flag from the Office of US Congressman Richard Hanna, in honor of his service to the United States.
The Broome County Department of Veterans Services, through its ongoing outreach to provide important services for Veterans, recently became aware of Wood and made arrangements for his medals to be delivered to Broome County.
Wood recently turned 89-years-old on March 3rd, 2013.