Local soldier gets overdue medals

By Staff
Melissa Dozier-Cason, FCT Writer
After more than 60 years, a local World War II veteran received metals for his service during the Veteran's Day program Saturday at the A.W. Todd Center.
Eugene McCarley was taken by surprise when General Troy Oliver called him to the front of the crowded room to receive metals that he did not receive after World War II ended in 1945.
McCarley was awarded his Metal of Good, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, World War II Victory Metal, Honorable Service Lapel Pin and Marksmen Badge with Rifle bar.
"We don't know why he never got his metals, but we do know that there was a fire and his records burned," Paula Aycock, McCarley's daughter, said.
Aycock did not realize that her father had not received his metals until they saw an article about a Florence man receiving his metals after 60 years, Aycock said.
"I did not realize that he had not received his metals until the article," Aycock said.
From that moment on, Aycock contacted the Veteran's Office in Colbert County, since she works in Muscle Shoals, and they assisted her in getting McCarley's Army record so that he would receive his awards.
"I could not have done this without the help of the Veteran's office in Muscle Shoals," Aycock said.
After the metal presentation, General Oliver encouraged any veteran who is due an award to contact him and he would be pleased to help them get what was earned.
Gen. Oliver was the guest speaker at the event.
He talked about the origins of Veteran's Day and the importance of honoring those who fight to preserve our union, past and present.
"World War II guys were the greatest generation," Oliver said.
"I would hate to think what this world would be like without all of you."
Before closing, Oliver asked everyone to support our troops abroad regardless of our political feelings.
"We [soldiers] don't worry about political things while in combat,' Oliver said.
The program closed with a moment of silence for those soldiers who did not make it home and for those currently at war. A reception followed the program.