WWII vet, age 99, will receive Purple Heart at Fort Hamilton
Heroism was overlooked for decades; Fletcher worked at Brooklyn DA’s Office
The chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. James C. McConville, will present the Purple Heart to World War II veteran and native of Brooklyn Osceola “Ozzie” Fletcher on the afternoon of Friday, June 18 at the Fort Hamilton Community Club.
Fletcher recently was approved by the Secretary of the Army to receive the Purple Heart more than 76 years after being wounded during the Battle of Normandy.
Due to some of the racial inequalities in this country at that time (the U.S. armed forces were segregated then), both Fletcher, a 99-year-old former private, and Johnnie Jones, a 101-year-old former warrant officer, had their stories overlooked for decades, despite rightfully earning the medals in the same historic battle.
Fletcher, who served in the 254th Port Battalion, was a soldier in the historic battle when his vehicle was hit by a German missile, killing the driver and wounding him.
In addition to serving in the Army during WWII, Fletcher also served as a detective and then a sergeant in the New York Police Department, a teacher at Boys High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and finally a community relations specialist in the Crime Prevention Division of Brooklyn’s District Attorney’s Office.
The event, which is not open to the public, includes the showing of a 15-minute film featuring Fletcher. The film was one of the catalysts toward re-examining the events of 1944 and ensured that Fletcher would be awarded the Purple Heart.
There will be a video greeting and message from U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), as well as remarks by McConville, Fletcher and others, along with the presentation of the medal to Fletcher.
The Fort Hamilton Community Club, located at U.S. Army Fort Hamilton in Bay Ridge, is normally open to the public and offers fine dining and offers fine dining as well as a swimming pool. The club’s grounds overlook the Verrazzano Bridge. It has served as the venue for many Bay Ridge community meetings.
Fort Hamilton, which dates back to 1825, has been the only active military installation in New York City since the closing of the Staten Island Homeport in 1994.
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