A tribute to Ralph Littin
By MAGGIE SCHUETTE-VOSS
It took the intervention of Senator Rod Grams, but shortly before Ralph Littfin died he found out he would finally get his medals.
Littfin died on May 16, 1998, only a few days after he received a letter stating that his Purple Heart and Asiatic Theatre Pacific Ribbon with two Bronze Stars were on their way.
According to Littfin's daughter, Sharon Ardolf, the medals still have not arrived.
Littfin, Automatic Rifleman 746, was in the U.S. Army, K Company, 21st Infantry, 24th Division, and fought in one of the best known battles of World War II, the Battle of Leyte Island.
Leyte is an island in the Philippines and was occupied by the Japanese. On Oct. 20, 1944 the Allies launched an attack to retake the island. This was the first battle in which the Japanese used kamikaze pilots. Those attacks began on Oct. 25, 1944.
Littfin was at Tanahmerah Bay and was wounded in the right arm. Shrapnel was lodged in his muscle and remained there for the rest of his life.
George Scheidt, McLeod County Veterans Service Officer, said that the ship carrying Littfin's medical records was lost at sea during the war, leaving no record of Littfin's injury.
Scheidt said he worked for a year to get Littfin his medals, without results. He then enlisted Grams' help.
"The day I called to tell him he was getting his medals, he was like a kid with a new toy," Scheidt recalled.
Scheidt said Littfin left a brief history of where he was during World War II:
Private First Class Ralph Littfin was discharged on April 26, 1945 due to the disability caused by the shrapnel in his arm.
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