U.S. Senator Dick Durbin presented Joe Hoppe, a World War II veteran, with four medals he earned for his service in the Navy. When Durbin met Hoppe at a seniors forum last year, he learned the veteran had had trouble obtaining the medals he had earned in combat.
Senior Lifestyle and Autumn Green at Wright Campus are extremely proud of Joe Hoppe, who finally accepted the medals he earned for his service in World War II.
“Joe Hoppe is an American hero and it’s an honor to present him with the medals he courageously earned but never received for his service in World War II,” Durbin said. “He volunteered to go overseas and put his life on the line for the good of our country. It is the least I could do for a man who sacrificed so much for others throughout his life,”
Hoppe enlisted in the U.S. Navy on March 17, 1941. He was a 1st Class Petty Officer and served as a baker stationed on the USS Wichita, a heavy cruiser patrolling the seas between Iceland and Greenland. He later served on the USS Alpine attack transport and served in every Theatre of War during WWII. Hoppe served with the U.S. Navy for nearly six years, joining when the United States was supporting England and Russia against Germany, protecting their supply and troop ships in the North Atlantic.
Both Hoppe’s dad and brother were in the U.S. Marine Corp 2nd Division. His brother was killed during his service. Joe always felt that he didn’t deserve his medals, as it was his brother who paid the ultimate price during his time at war. Joe and his wife, Charlotte, were pen-pals during the war. They were happily married for 66 years before she passed away in August 2011. Joe has worked as a baker all his life.
Today Hoppe was awarded the Navy Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal inside Autumn Green at Wright Campus in Chicago.