A Purple Heart medal that was donated to a military museum in 2012 will return to its rightful owner in Greenville this weekend.
Prior to achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Louis H. Cotton was a Field Artillery Officer and Alpha Battery Commander within the 377th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, 101st Airborne Division during World War II.
Cotton was wounded in the leg by enemy fire as he parachuted into Normandy on D-Day. Cotton retired from the military in October of 1963 having earned many awards and decorations.
In July 2012, a public affairs officer in the US Embassy in London was sorting mail when he came across an envelope with no return address. Inside he found only a Purple Heart medal with Louis H. Cotton’s name and information engraved on the back. When a search of military and genealogical records produced no results, the medal was donated to the Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum at Fort Campbell.
Last December, one of Cotton’s grandsons reached out to the Military Order of the Purple Heart to inquire about the medal following a search for his grandfather’s name online.
This Sunday, January 18, the nonprofit organization Purple Hearts Reunited will conduct a public ceremony to return the Lieutenant Colonel Louis H. Cotton’s Purple Heart to his son, Louis H. Cotton, Jr., of Greenville, himself a retired lieutenant colonel with the United States Air Force. The public is invited to the ceremony, which will take place Sunday at 1:00 p.m. in the Bradford Community Room on Main Street in Greenville.