Coast Guard to posthumously honor WWI veteran

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Coast Guard will posthumously honor a World War I veteran with a Purple Heart.

On Tuesday, the Coast Guard will honor Seaman 1st Class Francis Leroy Wilkes, who served during the first world war. The Purple Heart will be awarded to Vincent Warren Woodland, Wilkes' great-nephew.

Wilkes escorted several ships between Gibraltar, Spain and Milford Haven, Wales, in submarine-infested waters during the war. He served his entire career on the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa, and had 18 convoys without incident. But on Sept. 26, 1918, Tampa was torpedoed by a German submarine and the entire crew died. Wilkes was one of 11 African-Americans aboard the ship.

The awards ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. at the Coast Guard Cutter Taney on Baltimore's Inner Harbor. 

© 2017 Associated Press


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