Merlin – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley presented a Purple Heart medal to retired Staff Sergeant Ralph Capuano of Grants Pass at the National Guard Armory in Merlin.
“Staff Sergeant Capuano bravely served our country overseas and back home before eventually settling in Southern Oregon,” Merkley said. “I’m proud to stand with him today and thankful for his courageous contributions to our country.”
Capuano, 84, served with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 329th Infantry Regiment, and fought in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, on Utah Beach, on June 6th, 1944. Several weeks later, in late July, he was shot in the right shoulder during combat in France and sent back to England for recuperation, where he was awarded a Purple Heart. The bullet remains lodged in his shoulder.
Capuano, a former school teacher and post office clerk, lost his Purple Heart medal many years ago.
Capuano’s wife, Alice, recently began trying to find a replacement medal. Senator Merkley’s office learned of the request, contacted Alice and secured the medal.