Found Purple Heart Medal Heads Home to Oklahoma

Purple Heart

An Arizona man's search for the recipient of a Purple Heart medal found at a flea market has shed light on the story of a World War II soldier killed in 1944.

Vietnam veteran Matt Carlson, 59, said he began searching for the recipient in February after he purchased the medal for $40 at a Glendale, Ariz., flea market. The person's name was engraved on the back of the medal but there were no markings indicating the war or the battle to which it was linked.

The search for Clarence M. Merriott spanned four states and involved numerous volunteers and a member of Congress, the Arizona Republic reported Monday.

Carlson's son found a veterans organization on the Internet dedicated to preserving the memory of a World War II Army battalion, the 300th Combat Engineers, and volunteer Brad Peters of Massachusetts agreed to help research the mystery, as did a Texas historical society and Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., whose grandfather served with the battalion.

The medal recipient, Merriott, of Stillwell, Okla., was killed in June 1944 during a storm in the English Channel, when an explosion killed half the men aboard, Carlson learned.

Merriott's family requested that the medal be given to the Stillwell historical society. Carlson planned to present the medal Monday during a Veterans Day ceremony at Stillwell High School, the newspaper said.

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Purple Heart Awards World War II