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Battaglia Honors Decorated World War II Veteran at Soccer Match

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 8, 2014 – In a ceremony that brought 50,000 people to their feet, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff presented an award yesterday to a decorated World War II veteran for his service, a day after the nation and Europe marked the anniversary 70 years ago of the D-Day invasion of Europe.

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Former Army Pvt. 1st Class Samuel Muldrew, 91, alongside Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Battaglia, waves to the crowd at the USA Men’s Soccer World Cup Team soccer match against Nigeria in Jacksonville, Fla., June 7, 2014. DOD photo by Terri Moon Cronk

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

At halftime during a pre World Cup soccer match between Team USA and Nigeria, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia stood before the crowd at the EverBank Field here along with Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown to honor former Army Pvt. 1st Class Samuel Muldrew, 91, a Purple Heart recipient, who served from 1943 to ‘45.

Frail but walking, Muldrew waved to the soccer crowd, which cheered for him as he accepted Battaglia’s award, a large coin that read, “Proud member, United States Armed Forces,” in a box with a plaque that bore his name and the dates he served during WWII.

Battaglia and Muldrew then saluted each other with finely tuned precision.

Earlier, Battaglia’s wife, Lisa, met Brown’s wife, Santhea, and gave her a charm bracelet bearing the Washington, D.C. memorials of each branch of the military.

Team USA won the match against Nigeria, 2-1, and will go to the World Cup in Brazil.

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkAFPS

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Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia

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