NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A veteran was honored Sunday with a Congressional Gold Medal for his service during the Second World War.
Fred Randle, a Hot Springs native, was posthumously awarded the medal at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock on Sunday afternoon.
Retired Major Phil Kramer gave Randle’s wife the medal at the ceremony.
“May God richly bless you as we honor your husband’s service to our nation,” Kramer said.
The ceremony was held to honor Randle after he passed away two years ago. Sunday would have been his 100th birthday.
The medal represents the highest honor that Congress can bestow on any American for service and impact.
“Just such a descriptive medal, they did a really good job with it,” Fred’s son, Herald Randle, said.
Fred Randle served in Merrill’s Murderers in World War II, a unit that was active in the Southeast Asian theater of WW2.
“Of course, it is kind of a collective award because what they did is give it to Merrill’s Marauders and then the specific medal that was issued was given to the last surviving members,” Kramer said.
Herald Randle said he and his mother couldn’t be more honored to get this medal and to have Kramer present it to them.
Kramer said there are less than seven Merrill’s Murderers alive today, so this is a very rare and prestigious medal awarded to the family.
“When the administrative process was started, Fred was still with us and so he was included in on the list, the very few and select list of men who would actually receive one of these medals,” Kramer stated.
Kramer said this day isn’t just a special one for the Randle family, it’s a great day for America to remember those who served.