Exemplary by example; Bronze Star awarded

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Vernon L. Fowler Jr.
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Service members at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., gathered together Nov. 8, 2013, to witness the recognition of retired Army Maj. Charles "Chuck" Winn, nearly 63 years after he was repatriated as a prisoner of war.

The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to those who, during times of combat or war after Dec. 6, 1941 and not involving aerial flight, distinguish themselves with heroic or meritorious achievements or service.

From July 1 to Nov. 26, 1950, Winn displayed outstanding combat leadership as a first lieutenant and platoon leader with Company C, 1st Battalion 24th Infantry Regiment. He placed himself at risk searching for missing elements that had been separated from his company while deployed in Korea, where he later became a POW after being captured by Chinese Communist Forces.

"He exemplifies everything that is great in this country," said Brig. Gen. Timothy P. McGuire, U.S. Central Command deputy director of operations, during his remarks prior to pinning the medal onto Winn.

All service members in attendance stood at the position of attention to show the proper respect as Winn received his medal.

"This is the greatest achievement of my life," said Winn during a post on-camera interview. "It's just a happy day."

A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Winn entered the Army in Feb. 1942. He later served as a private first class with Company C, 292nd Engineer Combat Battalion, during its advance through France, Belgium and Holland into Krefeld, Germany. He then graduated from Officer Candidate School at Fontainbleau, France, and then served with Company M, 26th Regiment, 1st Infantry Division in support of the Nuremburg War Crimes trials. After leaving active duty he served in the Michigan Army National Guard while attending Grand Rapids Junior College and the University of Michigan. Winn re-entered active duty in Sept. 1949, and was stationed in Japan when Communist North Korean forces invaded South Korea in June 1950. As an Infantry first lieutenant, he deployed with the 24th Infantry and saw combat with the unit from the Pusan Perimeter Defense through the advance to the Yalu.

After Korea, Winn served six years with the Infantry School at Fort Benning, and was then assigned to the Army Ammunition Depot at Trois Fontaines, France as an operations and intelligence officer. Winn retired on Dec. 31, 1965, while serving as an advisor to Reserve units in Rhode Island. He then settled with his late wife Lorraine Winn in Stoughton, Mass. After completing a second career as a safety engineer with Aetna Life and Casualty Company, the Winns retired to Tarpon Springs, Florida, where Winn still resides.

The spirit of leadership did not stop at Winn however, whose son, retired Army Col. Chuck Winn, was also in attendance to witness his father's achievement.

Before departing, an emotional Winn spoke of how he wished he could share the moment with his late wife, Lorraine, during the second of two post on-camera interviews.

His son, standing just a few feet away, smiled and replied "Mom would be proud of you."