A Hoosier Hero
Pendleton honored for military service
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 10:00 AM
The Indiana House on Tuesday passed a resolution honoring Jefferson County resident Jim Pendleton, a World War II veteran who fought and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.
Jefferson County resident Jim Pendleton, second from left, was honored by the Indiana House for his service to the country. (Submitted photo)
Pendleton, 90, was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1942 when he was 20 years old. He rose to the rank of corporal before he was honorably discharged in October 1946.
Pendleton represents the oldest living generation of armed forces veterans.
"It was a great thrill, and I was highly honored," Pendleton said of the honor.
He spoke to the chamber about his service during WWII and fighting against the powerful German army in Belgium, the site of the famous battle which began Dec. 16, 1944.
During the fight, which was meant as a surprise attack, Pendleton's platoon found itself outnumbered and trapped. He escaped in a jeep, but heavy enemy fire caused his vehicle to crash.
"Jim Pendleton suffered a bullet wound to his right forearm," said Rep. Randy Frye, who authored the resolution, when presenting the resolution to the House chamber. "He recalled being able to see right through his arm."
Pendleton was injured three days into fighting. The battle was intended as an answer to D-Day, but the Allied troops held their ground.
The resolution says, "The battles were fierce, and the courage and fortitude of the American soldier were tested against great adversity; nevertheless, the response of Corporal Pendleton and his fellow soldiers turned the tide and resulted in the victory of freedom over tyranny."
"Bold action and bravery were the difference between surprised defeat and astonishing victory in the Battle of the Bulge," Frye said in a news release. "I was proud today to honor Jim Pendleton, a true Hoosier hero."
In addition to the resolution, Pendleton has received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Expert Marksman medals for his military service.
Last year, Pendleton attended a ceremony at the Belgium Embassy in Washington, D.C., with 11 other former soldiers who also were in the battle.
The men were from all across the U.S., which showed Pendleton that there is a very small number of veterans still alive that experienced the monthlong battle.
"There's not but a few of us left that were in the Battle of the Bulge, you know," he said.
Pendleton accepted the House honor with his family by his side.
"It makes me know how blessed I am to be an American," he said. "I'm been blessed by the grace of God in everything I've done."