World War II veteran receives medals in special presentation

By Office of U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney
East Hampton - posted Tue., Aug. 27, 2013
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-2) presents service medals to Willard Kemp of East Hampton (seated), joined by son Thomas Kemp, Vi L. Kemp, and Sarah Kemp. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-2) presented World War II Air Force veteran Willard H. Kemp, of East Hampton, with medals he earned during service to his country. Kemp’s son, Thomas Kemp, contacted Courtney’s office to request replacements for his father’s service medals, which had been lost decades earlier.

“Mr. Kemp and I had a great conversation in which he recounted the harrowing events on his B24 Liberator that earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross, which is only conferred for ‘heroism and extraordinary achievement,’” Courtney said. “The Flying Cross has a distinguished list of honorees including former President George Herbert Walker Bush. Mr. Kemp and his family - which includes other veterans - are an inspiring group of American patriots.”

Courtney presented Kemp with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three Bronze Clusters, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars and one Silver Star, the Presidential Unit Citation, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Honorable Service Lapel Button.

Born on Nov. 10, 1923, in Stamford, Conn., Kemp served in the Air Force during World War II. He was on active duty from March 18, 1944, until Sept. 30, 1945, when he was honorably discharged. He served with the 732nd Bombardment Squadron and the 450th Bombardment Group during the battles of Northern France and Northern Apennines. He also served with the 2619th Carlsbad Army Air Field of Carlsbad, New Mexico, during the battles of Northern France, the Rhineland, North Apennine, Southern France, Normandy, Air Combat Balkans and Rome-Arno.

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