PORTLAND, Maine — A World War II veteran has received the Congressional Gold Medal along with Japanese-American soldiers he fought side by side with in Europe.
Army Lt. Thomas Plourde of Lewiston was honored posthumously in Washington on Wednesday. Also honored were veterans from the Japanese-American military regiment he helped command.
Plourde died in 1992 at age 71, but his daughter was present at the ceremony where dozens of surviving veterans of those Japanese-American units — including U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii — were presented with the medal, the highest civilian award given by Congress.
Plourde led a task force that accepted the surrender of 33 German officers and more than 300 soldiers in Alessandria, Italy, after its five-year occupation.
In all, about 19,000 Japanese-Americans served in the units honored at the ceremony.