Government officials had trouble locating records of LaMarr Senne's injury.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
WARREN -- An 83-year-old man wounded while serving as a paratrooper in Europe during World War II has received his long-overdue Purple Heart.
LaMarr A. Senne of Lordstown, formerly of Sandusky, a staff sergeant with the Army's 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Second Battalion, Company F, received the medal in a Friday evening ceremony at the Disabled American Veterans Post in Warren.
"I never pushed it. When I got out of the Army, I said the only souvenir I wanted was my skin," Senne recalled, adding that family members said he deserved the medal and asked him to inquire about it in recent years.
The Purple Heart and other military medals were presented by Retired Army Col. Robert Mangold of Cortland, who appeared with two other Army retirees, Lt. Col. George Sparacino and Command Sgt. Maj. Wayne R. Westover, both of Warren.
'Rewarding': "It's really one of the most rewarding things that we do," said Dominic Marchese, an aide in the Niles office of U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., D-17th, referring to such award ceremonies. Marchese presented a proclamation on behalf of the congressman.
Senne's skin and clothing were burned when he was hit by tracer fire, which severed his ammunition belt, as his company was raked with German machine gun fire on a ridge overlooking a river in January 1945 near Munchausen, Luxembourg.
In July 1945, military officials told him they could find no record of his having been wounded in combat. But after World War II, the government classified him first as 10 percent, then 20 percent disabled.
In a March 15, 2001, letter to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Senne wrote that he suffered "a great deal of back trouble," especially during his working years.
In July, an official of the center wrote to Traficant that a record verifying Senne's injury was not in the center's files and might have been destroyed in a 1973 fire at the center. She suggested contacting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for military medical records concerning the injury, and it turned out the VA had the original field treatment report on his injury and disability reports.
Award was approved: On Oct. 23, an Army official wrote to Traficant that the award of a Purple Heart had been approved. Although no general order authorizing the award could be found, the official said other documentation was sufficient to approve the award.
That official also said Senne was authorized to receive the Bronze Star Medal, World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, French Fourragere and an additional bronze service star with arrowhead to be worn on the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal -- all of which he also received Friday.
Having retired 20 years ago from Ohio Crating in Warren, Senne is a member of the DAV in Warren and the VFW in Lordstown.
Senne was in charge of 12 men in Europe, and was responsible for locating enemy positions after landing by parachute behind enemy lines. Having served in the Ardennes, Normandy, Rhineland and central Europe, he had to use cover, concealment and camouflage, and fire, clean and maintain rifles and machine guns.