Kentucky Guard helps honor WWII Vet

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Adams III pins the Bronze Star Medal to the coat of Hubert D. Jasper, a WWII Veteran in Nicholasville, Ky., March 30, 2015. Jasper never received the awards following his return from Europe after the war in 1945. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky National Guard assisted a local family recently to ensure a World War II Veteran received the recognition he deserved.

Hubert D. Jasper lives in Paris, Kentucky. In 1943, he was inducted into the Army and for the next two years fought his way across Europe in some of the largest campaigns of the war. Thanks to the diligent work of his daughter, the help of a Congressman and the Kentucky Guard, Jasper was awarded his long-overdue decorations in a ceremony in Nicholasville, March 30, 2015.

Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Adams III, Chief of the Joint Staff for the Kentucky Guard served as the officiating officer for the ceremony at which Jasper received several awards including the Bronze Star and the Knight of The Legion of Honor medal from France.

“It is extremely important for us as a nation to pay homage to those who came before us and to show the respect they deserve for their contributions,” said Adams.

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Congressman Andy Barr congratulates Hubert D. Jasper, following an awards ceremony honoring Jasper in Nicholasville, Ky., March 30, 2015. Congressman Barr was on hand to present the French Knight of The Legion of Honor medal to Jasper. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

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Jasper served with a mortar platoon as part of the First Army, Ninth Division, landing at Utah Beach 1o days after D-Day.  He would fight in three of the four campaigns to liberate France and was among the first American Soldiers to assist with driving the German Army from Belgium. In 1944, Jasper and the Ninth Division were involved the Battle of Hurtgen Forest, only to advance into the Battle of the Bulge during that winter, a streak of some of the most fierce fighting in Europe..

In May, 1945, the war in Europe ended, but not before Jasper had helped carry a 135-pound mortar and equipment more than 600 miles, fighting their way to Germany.

After the war, Jasper returned to the U.S. and his job as a store manager for J.J. Newberry’s department store. He would manage stores from Tennessee, throughout Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri and Pennsylvania. He also returned to his wife of four years, Opal and his son. He quickly immersed himself back into civilian life and according to family members, didn’t speak much about his experience in the war.

Many years later, upon reading an article of another WWII Veteran receiving his due awards, Jasper inquired of his own. His daughter, Mary Carolyn Jasper did a majority of the leg work in researching her father’s service.

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The awards of Hubert D. Jasper, a WWII Veteran, await the official presentation to Jasper at an awards ceremony in Nicholasville, Ky., March 30, 2015. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“I have been honored to be able to work with my dad to secure these medals and the recognition he deserves, my brothers and I always knew he was such a special person,” said Mary Carolyn. “After I have talked with him about where he fought, what he did and the conditions he endured in the war, I am even more impressed with the man that is my father.”

Congressman Andy Barr, the grandson of a World War II Veteran, was on hand to present the French Knight of The Legion of Honor medal which is the highest honor bestowed by France to those who assisted in liberating the country during World War II.

One final award, a local tradition, certified Jasper as an official Kentucky Colonel.

Adams called Jasper and his fellow Soldiers, the rock upon which current Service members have built the standards of going beyond the call of duty.

“It was a privilege for me to honor a member of the greatest generation,” said Adams. “The Kentucky National Guard is proud to be involved in this long-overdue recognition and to celebrate the service of Pfc. Jasper.”

 

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