World War II veteran surprised with Bronze Star on 100th birthday in Ridgeland

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RIDGELAND, MISS. (WJTV) – On Monday, Ridgeland native and World War II U.S. Army veteran Billups H. (Bill) Allen received the Bronze Star Medal during a surprise ceremony on his 100th birthday. The Bronze Star Medal is the service’s fourth highest award.

Allen’s family released a statement announcing the award:

The family would like to extend their appreciation to [U.S. Senator Roger] Wicker, the Mississippi Army National Guard, and the staff of The Blake [assisted living facility] for making the celebration and presentation possible.

Family of Billups H. (Bill) Allen

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) assisted Allen’s family with their application for the medal, which was awarded just days after the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

“Bill Allen is an American hero who distinguished himself in service during World War II. I was happy to help his family get him the recognition he deserves,” Wicker said.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Martian of the Mississippi Army National Guard presented the Bronze Star to Allen. He also received the Army of Occupation medal and a replacement medal for Allen’s Purple Heart award, which was lost in December 1945 when he was evacuated from a hospital in England during the Battle of the Bulge. Allen was an infantry platoon leader (lieutenant) with the 29th Division in Europe.

The ceremony was held in the courtyard of The Blake assisted living facility in Ridgeland, Miss., where Mr. Allen is a resident. Attendance was limited to family members and facility staff because of COVID-19 restrictions.

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