Almost eight decades after mounting the doomed defense of the Philippines against the Japanese invasion that began December 1941, Daniel Crowley, 98, was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge during a ceremony Monday in Connecticut.
Crowley, who subsequently suffered years of brutal slave labor as a prisoner of war in the Philippines and Japan before his release at war’s end in August 1945, also received the Prisoner of War Medal and a long-belated formal promotion to the rank of sergeant.
“The event that is happening here today is nearly 76 years late in coming,” Gregory J. Slavonic, acting undersecretary of the Navy, said during the ceremony at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby, Conn., not far from where Crowley lives.
“It takes a very special person to continue to persevere through the most daunting of circumstances,” Slavonic said. “It takes a certain depth of character to put yourself in harm’s way for your fellow warriors and for your country.”