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A local man credited with leading a platoon that killed 250 Nazi troops was one of three soldiers added on Tuesday to a new plaque in the Lucas County Courthouse that honors Medal of Honor recipients.
The plaque was rededicated during a ceremony to honor the 16 veterans with ties to the county and whose names were on the memorial when the plaque was dedicated in 2003. But the county commissioners also recognized three additional medal winners: Christian Albert, who took part in Andrews’ Raid in the Civil War, Peter Johnson, a Spanish-American War veteran, and Maj. Hulon Whittington, a World War II veteran.
Speaking to military veterans, county officials, and dignitaries, Carol Contrada, president of the county commissioners, said the individuals deserved to be honored and remembered for their heroic acts. “The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in the United States military. It is awarded for acts of gallantry, intrepidity, and the risk of life beyond the call of duty,” she said.
The plaque, which is located on the courthouse’s second floor, was originally dedicated in 2003 as part of the Ohio’s bicentennial celebration.
Ms. Contrada said the omission of the three soldiers came to light through the research of veterans advocate Nick Haupricht, a Marine veteran who is chairman of Remembrance Inc., a group dedicated to building and refurbishing war memorials.
Mr. Whittington, who went by the name of Rocky, earned the Medal of Honor in World War II for his efforts during a tank infantry battle at Grimesnil, France, on July 29, 1944. As a sergeant, he was the one who led a platoon credited with killing 250 Nazi troops, destroying or capturing 104 tanks and vehicles in a Panzer Unit, and taking 172 prisoners. His platoon lost 51 of 59 soldiers. He was wounded in battle the next month.
A native of Louisiana, he was the first Medal of Honor winner to re-enlist in the Army and remained in the military until 1963, when he retired with the rank of major after suffering a heart attack in Vietnam. Mr. Whittington and his wife, who grew up West Toledo, relocated to Toledo.
He took a job as an investigator with the county welfare department. He died in 1969.
He served as the model for the 13-foot limestone G.I. Joe statue at the American Legion headquarters in Washington.
Roxanne Jones, one of Mr. Whittington’s five children, attended the ceremony. She said her father kept his combat experiences to himself.
“I think that it is just amazing to me that many [Medal of Honor recipients] don’t talk about it,” said Mrs. Jones, 66, of Wood County’s Middleton Township. “They don’t like the recognition. If [my father] was here to be honored today, he would have been humbled by this.”
Contact Mark Reiter at: email@example.com or 419-724-6199.