JOHNSTON, R.I. – A World War II veteran from Rhode Island finally received the military honors he earned in combat while in the Army.
Eighty-nine-year-old Alfred Bettencourt, of Cranston, was presented with the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and other medals on Monday afternoon at the Morgan Health Center in Johnston.
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed hosted the surprise ceremony that was planned by Bettencourt's family and the Cranston police and fire departments. They worked with Reed's office to obtain the medals Bettencourt earned.
Bettencourt was 18 when he was wounded in France on Dec. 12, 1944. His military records were destroyed in a fire in 1973.
More than 855,000 World War II veterans were alive as of Jan. 1, according to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Approximately 16 million Americans served in the war.