WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — A Trumbull County World War II veteran was awarded his Purple Heart 69 years after he was injured during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
The award was presented to retired navy Lieutenant Commande David Chenoweth Saturday afternoon as a surprise on his 93rd birthday.
Food, family and speeches were all part of the celebration, but what he wasn’t expecting was the Honor Guard and fellow servicemen showing up pinning him with his Purple Heart.
Lt. Junior Grade David Richard Chenoweth, U.S. Naval Reserve was honored with the purple heart for wounds received in action Feb. 23, 1945.
“I’m so completely surprised, almost wordless,” said Chenoweth.
The former navy lieutenant commander still has shrapnel in his in shoulder from the Battle of Iwo Jima. He talked to us about that day and how the navy was providing illumination on the mountain.
“I was in the hole and I was doing the work and it was a mortar shell came in. I was knocked out for a while,” said Chenoweth. “The shell landed far enough away from me so it didn’t give me any permanent injuries so it was part of the luck I had.
He says he knew he was entitled to a Purple Heart and it was in his discharge papers.
“I noticed on some discharge papers that I have, it said Purple Heart, but I never had it presented to me,” said Chenoweth.
He told his daughter Connie about it and she got to work.
“That was it, and I said, well I’m going to find out, so I started calling people,” said Connie Davis, Chenoweth’s daughter. “He talked a little. He wasn’t one to talk a lot. He told us some things about Iwo Jima he told us some things about being on a navy ship.”
Davis said there was a lot of paper work that included dad’s signature, but she got it done.
“I am so thrilled, absolutely thrilled. I didn’t think this would ever happen,” said Davis.
“This family of mine decides to go after something there’s no stopping them,” said Chenoweth.
“I am so in awe with the idea that my dad, who since I am the oldest child of course, I admire beyond belief is going to receive something that he so richly deserves,” said Mary Chenoweth Ramba, Chenoweth’s oldest daughter.
Chenoweth used to think about what it would be like to have his Purple Heart– now he doesn’t have to wonder, it’s his. However, he said he really doesn’t feel any different.
Along with his Purple Heart, Chenoweth is also a bronze and silver star recipient, but he will tell you he was just doing his job.