Novi Vet Receives World War II Victory Medal, Medal of Occupation
Release date: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Contact: Nathan Mueller, Communications Specialist 248-347-0431
(from left) Gen. Carol Ann Fausone, World War II veteran Harold Ortwine, Congressman Dave Trot
NOVI, Mich., April 11, 2017 – World War II veteran Harold Ortwine has always known his service to the country was in the United States Army’s 106th Infantry Division. It was in that division he suffered first-, second-, and third-degree burns in a gasoline fire during basic training, and also where he lost several friends while fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.
However, when Ortwine, 93, was released from the Army in 1945, his documents indicated that he was released from the 104th division – which did not fight overseas – and not the 106th.
Ortwine, who served from 1938 to 1945, attempted to obtain a copy of his military records in the late 1970s but discovered they were some of the records lost in the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in Missouri.
All hope was not lost as the office of Congressman Dave Trott got involved and recently was able to uncover his records. By doing so they discovered Ortwine had not received a pair of medals – World War II Victory Medal and Medal of Occupation – he rightfully deserved.
On Monday, April 10, Congressman Trott changed that, traveling to Novi to present Ortwine with his medals at a ceremony with his family that was long overdue.
“Drafted at age 18, Mr. Ortwine served his country valiantly, defending our nation’s fundamental principles of freedom and liberty around the world,” said Trott. “It was an honor to present Mr. Ortwine with the medals he rightfully earned, a long overdue recognition of the bravery and heroism he embodied in the defense of the traditions built by the Americans before him and the promise of every generation to come.”
Ortwine has lived in Novi since 1931 when his family moved here from Farmington. He worked as Novi’s first mail carrier, married his sweetheart, built a home, raised three children and witnessed the City’s growth from quiet town to the bustling community it is today.
His pride for the country is still as strong as ever as he regularly attends reunions of the 106th Infantry Division, talks to John M. “Jack” Roberts on the phone and wears his WWII hat daily.
“When the news came and I told him his records were finally going to be corrected and he was also going to be receiving a couple medals he was entitled to, his main questions was, ‘But are my records going to reflect the 106th division?’ That was all that mattered,” said his son Mark Ortwine. “As for my family, knowing he is happy is most important, but seeing him receive the long overdue honor and medals for his service makes us all very proud.”
Members of the Novi City Council pose for a photo with World War II veteran and long-time Novi resident Harold Ortwine.
(from left) Son Mark Ortwine, World War II veteran Harold Ortwine, Congressman Dave Trott