Tuesday, retired U.S. Army Cpl. Robert Curtis Andry was presented with the Purple Heart medal for his heroics during World War II.
The awarding, presented by U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile), came on Andry’s 97th birthday.
“Today, I was honored to present Cpl. Andry with a Purple Heart medal to recognize his sacrifice and dedication to the United States,” stated Carl. “Cpl. Andry truly embodies the patriotism, determination, and fighting spirit that defines ‘The Greatest Generation.’”
He added, “Throughout the history of our country, America’s service members have put their lives on the line to keep the United States and our allies safe. Cpl. Andry – and the entire 761st Black Tank Battalion – understood that freedom is not free but is bought with a price. Thanks to their immense sacrifices, good triumphed over evil in World War II and the world became a safer place. We are forever grateful to them.”
Andry, a product of Bucks in Mobile County, was drafted into the U.S. Army upon graduating from high school. The Purple Heart recipient was part of the 761st Black Tank Battalion, which was the U.S. military’s first black armored unit.
Andry and his battalion’s ingenuity was on full display as they modified their M4 Sherman Tanks to operate twice their original speed, catching the eye of Gen. George Patton. Patton would later call upon Andry and his battalion to lead the general’s plan to move into Berlin.
While in Nazi territory, Andry’s tank was ambushed and blew up with him inside. After sustaining life-threatening wounds, Andry was rescued by medics. Andry’s battalion would go on to liberate 30 Nazi-occupied villages and concentration camps.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL