A World War II veteran who spent several months in a prisoner of war concentration camp was honored for his service Thursday.
Many residents, along with Allen Public School students, gathered at Allen School’s auditorium to witness 86-year-old Harold Weldon Milner receive several medals recognizing his service to the United States during WWII.
Milner was awarded a Combat Infantryman Badge, an Army Good Conduct Medal, an American Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, a European, African, Middle-Eastern Campaign Medal, several citations and the Prisoner of War Medal.
Army Master Sergeant Russell B. Ermeling presented Milner with his commendations.
“I am absolutely, 100 percent honored to be doing this,” Ermeling said.
Afterwards, Allen High School Principal Paul Scroggins awarded Milner with a high school diploma.
After days of fighting and running out of food, Milner and his entire company were taken hostage by German forces in January 1945 while fighting in France. He was held in a POW camp for more than three months.
The inhumane conditions of the camp caused Milner to suffer from malnutrition. According to an article written by Sheila Valpredo in the Allen Advocate, an average of nine soldiers a day were dying from malnutrition at the camp, Stalag IXB.
Milner lost more than 90 pounds before he was freed. He later returned to the United States and was honorably discharged in November 1945.
He was born at Stuart and grew up in the Gerty area before moving to California for work. As WWII escalated, Milner felt compelled to fight for his country and joined the Army. He currently resides near Allen.
Ermeling also held a question and answer session with students in attendance and helped educate them about military matters and the meaning of Veterans Day.