ODVA Seeks Assistance in Returning Lost Medals to Late WWII Veteran’s Surviving Family Members

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The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is seeking assistance in locating any surviving family members or descendants of a World War II veteran, George E. Hodgdon, to help ensure his distinguished service medals, which were recently discovered in a home in Lake Oswego, are properly cared for.

First Lieutenant George E. Hodgdon served honorably in the United States Army during the Italian Campaign in the late stages of WWII, including during the Battle of Anzio. He was later awarded the Army’s second-highest military decoration for extraordinary heroism, the Distinguished Service Cross, from General Mark W. Clark, and the War Cross of Military Valor, which is the Italian equivalent of the Medal of Honor, or Medaglia al Valor Militaire

The mounted and framed medals were recently discovered in a home in Lake Oswego that was being demolished. A neighboring property owner, who is also a military veteran, received the medals, recognized their importance and transferred the medals to ODVA for assistance in locating Lieutenant Hodgdon or his family. 

The ODVA team was able to verify some information about Lieutenant Hodgdon and his incredible military service. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during a fierce battle against German forces in January 1944 near Cisterna di Littoria, Italy. Despite being under a heavy rain of machine-gun and rifle fire, Lieutenant Hodgdon organized and led a rally that destroyed an enemy tank. 

Hodgdon helped ensure the safety of his company by making himself a target, narrowly escaping injury when a bullet grazed his cheek and again when a German concussion grenade exploded at his feet. His citation for the Distinguished Service Cross reads in part: “Inspiring his men by his own fearless determination under heavy fire, he led his company to its objective where he lost consciousness. First Lieutenant Hodgdon’s determined courage and aggressive leadership reflect the finest traditions of the Armed Forces of the United States.”

ODVA was also able to confirm that Lieutenant Hodgdon passed away on January 28, 1969, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He had no known surviving spouse and Pennsylvania was listed as his home state of record.

The medals are currently in the care of ODVA.

“These medals represent the enduring appreciation of two grateful nations for the courageous and exemplary service Lieutenant Hodgdon performed in World War II more than 75 years ago,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick. “They belong with the Hodgdon family. We are grateful that the community recognized the importance of preserving these pieces of our nation’s military history and would appreciate the public’s assistance with any information that may help in returning them to the family.”

Anyone with information about Lieutenant Hodgdon’s family members or loved ones is asked to please contact ODVA Community and Media Relations Coordinator Tyler Francke at tyler.francke@odva.oregon.gov