Veterans Voices

Son fights for Purple Heart for his father who fought in World War I

SEMINOLE, Fla. (WFLA) - A Pinellas County man is fighting for his father, who fought for this country. 
Edwin Carle, 79, contends his father was wounded in World War I and never received the Purple Heart he deserved.  Now he is determined to right what he believes is a 100-year wrong.

In the war to end all wars, 23-year-old Ralph Carle fought in the U.S. Army's 119th Regiment from 1918 to 1919 in Europe.

Ralph Carle died in 1943, when his youngest son Edwin was just 4 years old.

"I never really got to know him, but I had a real father," Edwin said.

Edwin heard stories that his father was wounded in the war. He found documents from the United States Veterans Bureau that date back to 1932. Others from the disabled American Veterans of the World War are from 1934.  Both documents state that Ralph Carle was wounded during World War I. He suffered a shrapnel wound above the right eye. A doctor stated gas damaged his eyes.

According to the Department of the Army, that isn't good enough to prove Ralph was wounded in action.
"All I keep getting is, well you gotta do this or call that, or write to them and so on and so forth, and fill out this authorization," Edwin explained.

Edwin wrote congressmen, senators and presidents, asking that his father be awarded a Purple Heart.
"I'm turning 80 in January, you know, I don't have that much longer. You know, I want him to get what he deserves," Edwin stated.

Another road block, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center destroyed records of many World War I veterans.

Edwin was so young when his father Ralph died, he barely remembers him, but he is drawn to this fight.
"It's just something that I feel he deserves, and not knowing him I feel, I feel it will bring some connection to between me and my father," Edwin said.


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