A U.S. war veteran that didn’t have to go, he wasn’t even a U.S. citizen

File. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — One veteran is finally being recognized for his service more than a half century after he came back from the war zone. He didn’t have to go to war, he wasn’t even a U.S. citizen, but he went anyway.

Floyd Derick met Dick Donohue 55 years ago when they left on a bus from the Hartford Army Draft office heading toward Fort Devens in Massachusetts. They have been pals ever since. It all happened because they were put on the bus in alphabetical order that day. They spent two years in Korea in the 2nd Army Medical Battalion in what many have called the forgotten war.

“In September I got my greetings from Uncle Sam because I had my ‘Green Card’ down here to work,” said Floyd. “The Sgt. said; ‘the first six guys in line go down there and get in the ambulance you’re gonna be medics’ and so Floyd and I were medics because we were in line alphabetically,” added Dick.

Even though he was drafted, Floyd didn’t have to go into the Army and he didn’t have to go to Korea. He was a Canadian citizen that had come to Connecticut to work in 1948, but had already returned to Canada to help at his father’s farm.

After 15 months on the front lines Floyd was wounded by shrapnel, “I was hit in the arm here, in the knuckles and over my left eye.” He never put in for any medals and was honorably discharged from the Army in October of 1952, “After I got out of the service I said ‘you know’ I like it down here so I’m going to see if I can become an American citizen.”

(WTNH - Mark Davis)
(WTNH – Mark Davis)

He says he never talked about the war. Like Vietnam, there were no parades or welcome home celebrations. He never thought the medals were important, but his kids convinced him it was. A half century, five sons and daughters, eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren later, his adopted country honored him with seven medals for his service presented by U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) at his daughter’s home in Bloomfield.

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