WWII soldier from western NY approved for posthumous medals; died while POW in Pacific Theater

Military officials say medals have been posthumously authorized for a soldier from western New York who died while a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II.

Army officials notified Barbara Hutchinson of Gowanda last month that her cousin, Pvt. Carroll Heath, was entitled to nine decorations, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Prisoner of War Medal.

Heath enlisted after graduating from Gowanda High School in 1940. He was sent to the Philippines, where the Army says he died in late 1942 while a prisoner in Japan. His burial place is unknown.

Information on Heath didn't emerge until earlier this year after a classmate of Heath's and the classmate's son noticed his name had been left off the WWII memorial in Gowanda. His name will be added this year.