Veterans

WWII veteran, 89, wounded in France receives belated Bronze Star, Purple Heart for his service

  • World War II veteran Alfred Bettencourt, left of Cranston, R.I., smiles as he arrives at his surprise medal ceremony Monday, March 9, 2015, in Johnston, R.I. Bettencourt was wounded in France but didn't receive the Purple Heart until now because his records were lost. Cranston fire Captain Chuck Pollock, right, helped Bettencourt recover his records. (AP Photo/Amy Anthony)

    World War II veteran Alfred Bettencourt, left of Cranston, R.I., smiles as he arrives at his surprise medal ceremony Monday, March 9, 2015, in Johnston, R.I. Bettencourt was wounded in France but didn't receive the Purple Heart until now because his records were lost. Cranston fire Captain Chuck Pollock, right, helped Bettencourt recover his records. (AP Photo/Amy Anthony)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, left, stands with World War II veteran Alfred Bettencourt, of Cranston, R.I., who received his Purple Heart during a surprise medal ceremony Monday, March 9, 2015, in Johnston, R.I. Bettencourt was wounded in France but didn't receive the Purple Heart until now because his records were lost. Cranston fire Captain Chuck Pollock, right, helped Bettencourt recover his records. (AP Photo/Amy Anthony)

    U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, left, stands with World War II veteran Alfred Bettencourt, of Cranston, R.I., who received his Purple Heart during a surprise medal ceremony Monday, March 9, 2015, in Johnston, R.I. Bettencourt was wounded in France but didn't receive the Purple Heart until now because his records were lost. Cranston fire Captain Chuck Pollock, right, helped Bettencourt recover his records. (AP Photo/Amy Anthony)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, left, stands with World War II veteran Alfred Bettencourt, of Cranston, R.I. after pinning his Purple Heart during a surprise medal ceremony Monday, March 9, 2015, in Johnston, R.I. Bettencourt was wounded in France but didn't receive the Purple Heart until now because his records were lost. Cranston fire Captain Chuck Pollock helped Bettencourt recover his records. (AP Photo/Amy Anthony)

    U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, left, stands with World War II veteran Alfred Bettencourt, of Cranston, R.I. after pinning his Purple Heart during a surprise medal ceremony Monday, March 9, 2015, in Johnston, R.I. Bettencourt was wounded in France but didn't receive the Purple Heart until now because his records were lost. Cranston fire Captain Chuck Pollock helped Bettencourt recover his records. (AP Photo/Amy Anthony)  (The Associated Press)

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.