01.31.11

SCHUMER PRESENTS LONG OVERDUE PURPLE HEART: AFTER MORE THAN 60 YEARS, WORLD WAR II VET CHESTER LUBECK FINALLY AWARDED THE MEDAL HE DESERVES

Chester Lubeck Was Captured During The Battle of the Bulge in 1944 and Injured As Prisoner of War During Allied Forces Bombing Outside Nuremberg; Was Ineligible for Purple Heart Until Award Guidelines Changed to Include Friendly-Fire IncidentsFor More Than 3 Years Since Realizing Eligibility, Mr. Lubeck Has Sought Purple Heart that Was Due to Him Schumer Finally Cut Through Red TapeSchumer: Chester Lubeck Is A Great Man from Our Greatest Generation; He is a Hero who Deserves

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer presented a long overdue Purple Heart to Chester Lubeck, a Blauvelt resident and World War II veteran. Mr. Lubeck was captured during the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium on December 16, 1944, during one of the fiercest battles of World War II. While a prisoner of war, he and many other American prisoners were injured when U.S. military planes bombed an ammunition dump outside Nuremberg, Germany. Because this was an injury caused by friendlyfire, Mr. Lubeck was not eligible for the Purple Heart until legislation changed the guidelines for the medal.  Since realizing his eligibility, Mr. Lubeck has been working for more than 3 years to secure the Purple Heart that was owed to him, and Schumer was finally able to cut through the red tape and get him the recognition he deserved.
 
"Chester Lubeck is an American hero who, for over 60 years, has been denied his rightful honor due to red tape," Schumer said. "Mr. Lubeck absolutely deserves to be honored in a way that matches his service, so that his children and grandchildren will be able to tell their children about their heroic great grandfather and the sacrifices he made for his country. Although this day is long overdue, I am pleased that the Army has finally recognized Mr. Lubeck's heroic sacrifice for our country."
 
At age 20, Chester Lubeck was a second Lieutenant for the Army infantry in World War II. On December 16, 1944, he was captured by German soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, one of the fiercest battles of World War II. After four months as a prisoner of war, Lubeck and a great deal of other American prisoners were outside an ammunition dump in Nuremberg, Germany that was bombed by US military planes. In the bombing, twentyeight men were killed and 48 were seriously injured, including Lubeck who suffered a concussion and hearing loss. Lubeck was then able to bravely escape from the Germans only two weeks after the bombing.
 
For years, Mr. Lubeck did not believe he was eligible for the Purple Heart because "friendly fire" incidents did not meet qualifications for the honor when he was discharged from the Army in 1945. However, that law changed in 1985, and in 1996 became retroactive to include the date of his injury. Around 2007 he realized his eligibility, and began to work to secure the medal that he rightfully deserved. Still, Mr. Lubeck was met with challenges even after this legislative change, and spent 3 years attempting to secure the Purple Heart.
 
Recently, Chester Lubeck's case was brought to the attention of Senator Schumer by Jerry Donnellan, Director of the Rockland County Veterans Service Agency. Schumer saw that Mr. Lubeck was clearly deserving of the Purple Heart, and was able to present all evidence to the Army, who agreed to revisit his case. In the end, Schumer's office was able to cut through the red tape and prove the legitimacy of Lubeck's qualifications for the Purple Heart. Mr. Lubeck stood with Senator Schumer today at the American Legion in Rockland, where Schumer presented him with the longawaited and welldeserved Purple Heart. 
 
Beyond being a decorated World War II Veteran, Chester Lubeck is a longtime resident and entrepreneur in Blauvelt, New York. After his military service, he went on to start a construction firm, a lumber company, and a real estate business. Lubeck and his wife of 62 years, Constance, have five children and 11 grandchildren.
  



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