Harry McCracken, 5MED, was awarded the Belgian Fourregere in a ceremony Dec. 15 at the residence of the Belgian ambassador, the Hon. Jan Matthysen, Washington, D.C.
Two other veterans, Sossio (Pat) Capasso and Ted Hauprichts, also received the award. They were not with the 99th, nor were they in attendance.
Harry McCracken, Archives chairman, has served the Association in many capacities, including the office of President from 2002-03.
The Hon. Jan Matthysen welcomed guests for the awards presentation and offered words of gratitude for the veterans’ service:
“Those who fought in that long, cold, fierce battle were so involved in the daunting task of routing the enemy that they probably did not have time to consider their role as peacemakers. With hindsight, however, we know that they did make a significant contribution to winning the war and to creating lasting peace in Europe.
“We continue to honor the fallen and to celebrate the survivors. I have always valued conversations with veterans of the Battle of the Bulge …
“In the name of my compatriots, I thank you wholeheartedly for the peace you helped achieve – peace that we still all rejoice in – 67 years later.”
Matthysen continued, “It is a privilege for me to inform you that all veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, still alive, can request the Fourragere if they belonged to a unit cited twice in the Daily Orders of the Belgian Army. After verification of their request by the Belgian Defense’s historical documentation center, and after coordination with the U.S. Army, these veterans will then be awarded the Fourragere during the annual reception for the Battle of the Bulge at my residence.
“After consultation and coordination with the Awards and Decorations branch at Fort Knox KY, these veterans are allowed to wear the Fourragere.”
All veterans of the Battle of the Bulge can introduce a request to receive the Fourragere.
Two conditions to receive the award are the veteran must have taken part at the Battle of the Bulge with a unit, cited twice in the Daily Orders of the Belgian Army, and the veteran must still be alive.
The historical center of the Belgian Defense in Brussels will verify every request; therefore they need the exact name of the veteran, the name of his former unit and some proof that he belonged to that unit (copy of the Military Record and report of separation, a copy of the honorable discharge, or copy of any award received before).
Requests should be sent to the Military Section of the Belgian Embassy, Attention Nadege Ganga or Major Patrick De Smedt, 3330 Garfield St NW, Washington, D.C. 20008.