GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — More than 100 years after a Coast Guardsman from Muskegon was killed in action during World War 1, his family is finally awarded his Purple Heart.
Francis Scott was 26-years-old serving on the Coast Guard Cutter U.S.S. Tampa during World War 1 when it was sunk in 1918 by a German submarine.
Since 1999, the Defense Department has been identifying relatives of the 115 men on board and issuing posthumous Purple Hearts awarded to all U.S. service members wounded or killed in combat.
Friday at the Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven, his great niece accepted the Purple Heart on Scott's behalf.
“It is gorgeous,” Karen Simons, Scott's great niece said. “I am just so overwhelmed and honored. It is a gift I never anticipated.”
“When he joined the Coast Guard, he knew World War 1 was underway and he knew he would likely go to a cutter and face the enemy in dangerous situations,” Rear Admiral Donna L.Cottrell said. “He did it anyway.”
According to their website, the Coast Guard is still trying to locate about 50 families of the men who died on the U.S.S Tampa and give them their purple hearts.
“I am honored to accept it on behalf of my grandparents,” Simons said.
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