Yakima Veteran Finally Handed the Bronze Star Medal - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Veteran Finally Handed the Bronze Star Medal

Posted: Updated:

YAKIMA, WA.--It's long overdue, but a Yakima World War II Veteran is finally being recognized and rewarded for his bravery.

Congressman Doc Hastings said a big fire in the 1970s destroyed millions of military records kept in St. Louis. Nearly 70 years later, Merle Hicks finally got his medal.

He's a hero in the eyes of many, but 92-year-old Hicks isn't a huge fan of all the attention.

"If I had a hole six feet deep I'd crawl into it," said Hicks. "I don't feel superior to anybody."

Hicks served as Second Lieutenant in the United States Army from 1941 until 1945.  His son tells us Hicks single-handedly took out an enemy machine gun nest in Holland during World War II. For this act of bravery, he earned the Bronze Star Medal.

"Didn't think they did things that are extraordinary," said Congressman Hastings. "They were just doing their duty, but when you put your life in danger like they did and do duty beyond what would be the call, that needs to be recognized."

"He was house to house fighting and he just went through a lot of stuff, like a lot of people did," said Ron Hicks. "And he has severe post traumatic stress syndrome because of it."

"I stood by men that were killed right next to me, and we were all fighting for the same thing," said Hicks.

The Veterans' son said it's now his job to make sure his father is treated with respect and honored for the life he lived.

The Bronze Star is the fourth-highest individual military award you can receive. Hicks also wears the Purple Heart after an artillery explosion lodged Shrapnel in his lower back.