Nearly 60 years after serving our country, Morgan resident Lewis Frongner was presented with medals for his bravery and service during World War II.
The celebration happened early Thursday morning, Jan. 17, as Frongner was surrounded by his friends and family. His children Randy, Lou Jean, Debbie and Judy watched as Senator Orrin Hatch presented the 92-year-old veteran with medals that he earned all those years ago, but never received. His wife Alberta, who was not able to travel to the presentation, supported him from home.
While in the Army, Frongner served in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations for 20 months. He was a light mortar crewman and served in the 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Division.
Frongner’s responsibilities included setting up and firing a 60-millimeter mortar gun to place explosives on enemy positions. Using a firing table, he was able to determine what changes he would need to make to adjust for elevation and deflection.
Having left the battlefield in such a hurry, Frongner returned home with only the clothes on his back and a picture of his wife that he carried with him the entire duration. To this day that picture is one of his greatest treasures and he proudly displays it at his home.
As with many veterans of war, Frongner did not talk much about his time in the service. It wasn’t until last year that he started to open up to his family about some of his experiences.
As he started to share stories and photos with his nephew Stephen Frongner, his family realized that Lewis had never received the military medals he should have been given.
The family brought this to the attention of Senator Orrin Hatch. Hatch’s office then worked to ensure that Frongner received the medals he was long overdue.
Grateful to be a part of this occasion, Senator Hatch spoke briefly about losing a brother to the war. It meant a lot to him to be able to recognize such a courageous and honorable man.
“America is free because of its veterans. Lewis and so many others like him have helped shape America and blessed our nation and its people with freedom and peace,” stated Hatch.
“Lewis is a member of a very select group of individuals—getting fewer and fewer in number—the veterans of World War II. Many have called them the greatest generation for the sacrifices and dedication by so many men and women who wore our nation’s uniform.”
Receiving eight medals, Frongner was presented with: The Good Conduct Medal, The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, The World War II Victory Medal, The Army of Occupation Medal with Japan Clasp, The Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award, The Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two Bronze Service Stars, The Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII and—as the crowning honor—the Bronze Star Medal.
Sitting next to his father while the awards were given, Frongner’s son Randy was privileged to pin the Bronze Medal on his father’s lapel.
When asked his feelings about this important day, the humble veteran replied, “I feel overwhelmed. I just can’t believe it. I feel pretty special. I always felt like a forgotten G.I.”
It was a pretty special day for his family as well. His daughter Lou Jean shared that she was just happy to see her father get the recognition he deserves. Frongner’s nephew Stephen, who made this all possible, watched with pride as his uncle was honored.
As a decorated veteran, Frongner at 92 is grateful to proudly return home and continue taking care of his two-acre property. He still maintains the grounds and can be found shoveling his own sidewalks throughout the winter.
Frongner actively participates in VFW-Veterans of Foreign Wars and cherishes the time he has with his wife and the opportunity to care for her.