70 years later, Ocean County WWII vet gets Purple Heart

Thursday, October 16, 2014
VIDEO: 70 years later, Ocean Co. WWII vet gets Purple Heart
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An Ocean County World War II veteran finally received his Purple Heart Medal, 70 years after he was wounded in battle.

EGYPT, N.J. (WPVI) -- A World War II veteran from Ocean County received a long overdue honor Thursday and there was even a surprise in store for his wife, who also served in the war.

Seventy years after he was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge, the bloodiest U.S. battle fought in World War II, 88-year-old Army veteran Lenny Brotsky finally received his Purple Heart.

"Means everything in the world because I earned it. If I didn't earn it, I wouldn't have got it," said Brotsky.

Brotsky was a member of the 155th Field Artillery Unit fighting to beat back Hitler and the Nazis when he was injured by shrapnel during an attack

"Jumping out of the jeep from mortar fire and I hit the ground," he said.

Brotsky was awarded the French Legion of Honor years ago.

In 2003 he asked Congressman Chris Smith for help getting his Purple Heart. After years of searching through military records, his office found the paperwork needed.

"We finally got that piece of evidence in a VA document that opened it up and they were able to convey to this very brave and courageous man what should have been given to him 70 years ago," said Congressman Smith.

Brotsky's 92-year-old wife Rose was also honored for her service.

She enlisted in the Marines in 1943 and was among the first women to enter that branch of the service. She was stationed at Pearl Harbor years after the attack.

"I ended up as a radio operator, communications chief in Hawaii and I felt I was doing it for my country. I'm a trailblazer," said Rose.

The Brotsky's are really a power couple, but if Rose wants to pull rank she's entitled. Lenny left the service as a tech, but she left as a sergeant.