A World War II combat veteran is being honored for his service with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Retired Sgt. 1st Class Marvin Cornett of Auburn, Calif., will receive the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals that he earned nearly 76 years ago in a ceremony scheduled for Feb. 22. Cornett turns 100 on July 1.
Cornett participated in the combat parachute assault over Salerno, Italy, on Jan. 31, 1944, and stormed ashore at Anzio Beach, according to an 82nd Airborne Division news release. When the Army did not follow up on the award recommendations for his actions, Cornett did not pursue the matter. He was routinely reassigned stateside to Fort Benning, Ga., where he served as an instructor. Cornett went on to serve a full career.
Years later, Heritage Arsenal of Colorado Springs, Colo., found missing records of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart awards that never were conferred. An official of the organization who had been an Army Green Beret helped guide the family through the process of requesting the awards.
The ceremony is being coordinated by Heritage Arsenal and the Cornett family and will be hosted by the American Legion in Auburn. Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division, will be the virtual guest speaker. U.S. Army recruiters will present the awards to Cornett who will be wearing his dress uniform during the event.
Pictured: Retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Marvin Cornett