WWII vet honored posthumously with Purple Heart

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. (KABC) -- Exactly 70 years after her father was wounded in World War II, Lorraine Manatt accepted the Purple Heart on his behalf.

"I'm really proud to be able to honor my father this way. He was so quiet about it all and he went through a lot," Manatt said.

On March 18, 1945, Sgt. Rodney Williams was on a mission over Berlin, Germany, when his B-17, "Lady Jane 2," bomber was shot down. Four died and five, including Williams, suffered major injuries but survived.

They spent the rest of the war at a prison camp.

"Rodney Williams was just a standard member of the greatest generation. They made the uncommon, common," U.S. Air Force Major General Robert D. McMurry Jr. said.

Williams died of natural causes in 1994.

Sgt. Rodney Williams smiles in this undated file photo.

Manatt said her dad never wanted any recognition. That attitude and some lost paperwork kept the ceremony from happening sooner.

"That was the problem, the military didn't have my dad's medical records," Manatt said.

After some work, Manatt arranged for her father to be recognized with the full military honors his sacrifice deserves. It's something he never would have accepted.

"I don't know that would make him feel good to be standing there getting an award when other people died. In a way, that's why I'm glad I can do this for him," Manatt said.

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