November 23, 2014
A Purple Heart given to a World War II aviator beheaded by Japanese forces in 1945 will be returned to the serviceman's family this weekend during a ceremony in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Gordon H. Yates' 80-year-old sister, Alva Brickner, cried when she found out the medal was found in Virginia. The family had lost track of it at least as far back as 1979 when Yates' father died.
Now Purple Hearts Reunited, a nonprofit that works to return lost or stolen medals, will present the medal to Brickner on Saturday at the Narvon nursing home where she lives.
Yates was aboard a patrol bomber flying its 36th mission when it was shot down off the coast of southeast Asia. The crew fell into Japanese hands and Yates was executed.
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