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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • World War II veteran posthumously honored

  • It took nearly 70 years, but Staff Sgt. Wilbur E. Troehler has been awarded medals for his Army service during World War II.
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  • It took nearly 70 years, but Staff Sgt. Wilbur E. Troehler has been awarded medals for his Army service during World War II.
    Troehler died in 1989, but family members were on hand Friday at Fort Leavenworth for the presentation of the Bronze Star and other decorations.
    "For reasons I don't know, and we probably cannot find out today, (Troehler) left the Army without recognition of his exemplary service," Col. Timothy Wulff, Fort Leavenworth garrison commander, said during the ceremony. "Today, we make up for that with the presentation of the Bronze Star Medal and service ribbons."
    Friday's ceremony took place at the Frontier Army Museum.
    Troehler served in the Army from 1943-1945. He served as an infantryman in Company D of the 289th Infantry Regiment in the 75th Infantry Division. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Europe.
    He was from Illinois, but members of his family today live in Overland Park.
    After Troehler returned home from World War II, he apparently never inquired about medals he may have earned, said Steven Cormier, adjutant general for Fort Leavenworth.
    "He never talked about his service," said Troehler's son, Gene.
    When asked about his service in World War II, Troehler would say he was just doing his job, Gene said.
    Wulff credited Gene and other family members for making sure Troehler was properly honored.
    Gene said he has learned a lot about his father's military service.
    "I'm just so honored the Army would take the time and effort to recognize one of their veterans," he said.
    Wulff said Troehler was "a soldier who answered his nation's call," and served with honor during one of the country's most trying times.
    "Staff Sgt. Troehler was 28 when he answered the call to duty in 1943," Wulff said.
    After initial training, Troehler was assigned to the 75th Infantry Division as a heavy weapons non-commissioned officer and section leader. He deployed to England in November 1944 and France and Belgium the following month.
    "On Christmas Day 1944, he and his division were facing a massive German offensive in the Ardennes Forest that was later called the Battle of the Bulge," Wulff said.
    The garrison commander said Troehler and other members of his division persevered and beat back the Nazi offensive.
    "Had the Nazis succeeded, the war may have had a different outcome, or maybe the same outcome but much prolonged with greater casualties," Wulff said.
    According to the citation for Troehler's Bronze Star, the medal was awarded for "meritorious achievement in active ground combat against the enemy" during the German counteroffensive.
    In addition to the Bronze Star, Wulff presented Troehler's family with a shadow box that included the American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army Occupation Medal, Combat Infantry Badge and Expert Infantry Badge.

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