HART FAMILY Genealogy Newspaper Articles

Neal Mansfield
WW II Veteran - Receives Medal after 60 years

Neal Mansfield, husband of Christine (Hart) Mansfield has finally gotten the decorations he earned for his service in the Pacific campaign. Sixty years after the fact, Neal Mansfield of Dudley has received his Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Philippine Libration ribbon, Army Good Conduct Medal and World War II Honorable Service label pin. Mansfield, now 83, was drafted into the army in August 1942, as America’s war effort was shifting into high gear. “ I went in at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis and that where I got out on Dec. 29, 1945. We went by ship from New York through the Panama Canal.”

The island, a French colony east of Australia, served as a staging point for American units headed for fighting in the Solomon Island and New Guinea, both to the northwest. From there, Mansfield deployed with his unit to the New Hebrides Islands (now called Vanuatu) to the north east of New Caledonia. Units to which he was assigned moved onto Guadalcanal in the Solomons. The first stop after Guadalcanal was Munda Airfiedld on New Georgia, followed by Bouganville and the air bases there. Next stop was the island of Los Negros, in the Admiralty Island group north of the Solomons and the great Japanese bastion at Rabaul. He arrived there some time after Los Negros’ capture in May 1944 to by pass Rabaul. By September 1944 he had already been to Morotai, north of New Guinea, and was at Noemfoor, west of New Guinea, both of which are in what is now Indonesia. It was from Noemfoor that the longest-distance air raids of WW II took place 1,300 miles each way to the Japanese-held oil refineries at Balikpapan on the island of Borneo. “I was there to load them up when they went,” Mansfield said proudly.

The Editor of the Dexter Statesman asks - “So, why did it take 60 years to get those medals? A bureaucratic foul-up or lost paper work, as has been the case for many other veterans?” “No, I just never got around to it,” Mansfield said, “and I couldn’t figure a place to wear ’em on my overalls!” Mansfield said, however, that family members had advised him that succeeding generations might be interested in his decorations, so he requested and received them from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis

The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal came with four bronze service star devices, signifying participation in four of the major campaigns that made up the Asiatic-Pacific campaign. The Philippine Liberation ribbon also came with a bronze service star.

Contributed by M.A. Hart from the Daily Statesman - Dexter MO
The photo above is of Mr. and Mrs. Mansfield at our Hart Family Reunion in Dexter MO 2005


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