Lifestyle & Human Interest

60 Years After Being Wounded in Battle, WWII Vet Awarded Medals He Never Knew He Earned


For nearly sixty years, Raymond Chambers had no idea he was a hero.

Chambers, now 93, served in the Navy special forces during World War II. During the Battle of Iwo Jima, Chambers was shot in the leg. However, he didn’t believe his injury was serious enough to stop him from fighting for his country.

“During this brutal battle that went on for weeks Mr. Chambers was actually shot in the leg,” U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor told the Tampa Bay Times. “But he’s a tough guy and at that time, when the doctors looked at him, he said he was fine and he kept on fighting. He kept on serving.”

In 1946, Chambers returned home to Michigan without a medal to his name. He focused his attention on happier things, such as meeting the love of his life and selling ice cream in a traveling carnival.

“I’ve lived a wonderful life,” Chambers said.

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He spoke about his time in the war, but never about the death and violence that he’d witnessed.

“I guess once he was done with the war he was done,” his wife, Mary Chambers, said. “He wanted to move on with his life.”

Chambers considered himself one of the few who returned from the war unscathed. However, he never regarded his service remarkable or outstanding. Six decades after his service, one doctor’s appointment changed his mind.

The veteran had scheduled an appointment to diagnose the pain he was experiencing in his leg — the same leg that had been shot during the Battle of Iwo Jima. According to the doctor, shrapnel was embedded there. This discovery meant that the injury Chambers had ignored years prior was actually a battle wound.

Marine veteran Timothy Jay Read, who met Chambers at a hospital in Tampa, decided that his friend deserved to be recognized.

It took ten more years for the Department of Defense to grant Chambers his awards, but the moment turned out to be well worth the wait.

The ceremony occurred at the Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library in Tampa, Florida. Chambers’ wife, children and grandchildren were in attendance to watch him receive his long-awaited medals.

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Chambers received the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars for his “heroic” and “meritorious” achievements. In addition, he was granted the American Campaign Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon and the World War II Victory Medal.

After receiving his long overdue medals, Chambers played a rendition of “God Bless America” on his harmonica to celebrate, WDRB reported.

Thank you, Mr. Chambers, for your outstanding service to your country!

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Noel Marquis is a journalist and animal-lover hailing from the Midwest. After an internship with Disney following her college graduation, she pursued a career writing content that makes readers smile. Coffee, books and superhero movies are some of her favorite things.