Better late than never, World War II vet receives honors with family at side

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Dan Richardson
  • 115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
After Sixty-four years, 12 U.S. Presidents and two new states admitted to the union, 87 year-old Corporal Bill Morstad accepts medals, earned during his four years of service in the second Great War. A father, grandfather and great grandfather, Bill was joined by three generations of family members while being presented a shadow box containing five medals and a service pin.

It took over a year and a half to research, gather and submit all the documents to put together this presentation, a job that was well worth the wait.

"All I can add is that my dad has always been a hero to his children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren, but presenting these medals is something truly special" said Dave Morstad, Bill's son.

The medals presented included the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Honorable Service Lapel Button and the Good Conduct Medal.

Bill joined the Army Air Corps in June of 1941 as a radio operator and air traffic controller. After the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, he sailed to North Africa and served in Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and South America until the end of the war, four years later.

" It was a good tour, a lot of it; you don't remember the bad parts," said Morstad.

Colonel Gunther Neumann, director of operations, Wisconsin Air National Guard, presented Corporal Morstad with the shadow box and explained a little about what each of the medals contained was awarded for.

"It is very important to recognize individuals for their great contributions and service during that war effort," said Colonel Neumann

Dave Anderson, district director for Wisconsin Congressmen Tom Petri, presented a flag that was flown over the United States Capitol, along with a certificate recognizing Bill's contributions and patriotism.

"Events like this are among the most treasured opportunities I've had, because I think it is important that we to recognize the contributions of these great individuals, and it is appropriate to set the record straight," said Anderson.

"It was kind of emotional, it really was, to think that my sons went through all of this, and after all these years, this came out of it" said Morstad." 

64 years later is better than never for Corporal Bill Morstad, a surviving member of our nation's Greatest Generation.