Nine years after his death, a Hooper, Neb., man will be awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II.
Donald K. Schwab is among 24 Army veterans who will receive the award next month from President Barack Obama.
Schwab, who was 86 when he died in 2005, was a rural mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service.
Schwab is being honored for his actions during combat operations near Lure, France, on Sept. 17, 1944.
Schwab, a first lieutenant, was the commander of Company E, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.
On that day, Schwab led a dwindling group of men in a charge against a line of German machine guns, eventually rushing the enemy alone, according to an account in The Military Times. With his men falling around him, he rushed the enemy alone.
"Ultimately, he took out a German pistol nest by ripping off its shelter cover, bludgeoning the gunner with his carbine and dragging him behind friendly lines amid a hail of gunfire," the newspaper wrote. "The action so disorganized the enemy troops that they abandoned their defenses and withdrew."
The 24 soldiers already had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest military award.
"That award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor in recognition of their gallantry, intrepidity and heroism above and beyond the call of duty," a White House press release said.
In May, Terry Schwab, one of Donald’s five children, got a call from a Pentagon official who said his father was going to get a “special award.”
“He says, ‘You’re going to get a call from the president tomorrow,’” he said. “Then I knew.”
The Schwab family will travel to Washington, D.C., for the March 18 ceremony.
For a long time, Terry Schwab said, his father didn’t talk much about the war.
“He was enlisted,” he said. “He was patriotic. He was fighting for freedom, his country.”
But details emerged over the years, and eventually Donald opened up about his experience during the war — including the day he charged a line of German gunners and returned with a prisoner. He was wounded three times, said Lloyd Hartmann, a longtime friend whom Schwab recruited to join the Hooper American Legion Post 18.
“He’s our guy,” Hartmann said. “We’re pretty proud of him.”
Donald Schwab was awarded the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts after his tours in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France, according to an obituary that ran in the Fremont Tribune.
The 2002 federal defense spending bill authorized a review of war records to ensure that Jewish and Hispanic veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War had not been denied the Medal of Honor because of prejudice. During the review, other soldiers deserving of the medal were found.