Purple Heart For WWI Marine

August 12, 2011 Updated Aug 12, 2011 at 7:59 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

August 12, 2011 Updated Aug 12, 2011 at 7:59 PM EDT

(Buffalo, NY) The family of Russell Tucker gathered at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park to receive a special honor.

Ninety-three years after being wounded in the Battle of Belleau Wood in France, Russell Tucker was awarded the Purple Heart.

The former Marine marksman died in 1971.

His family says he never talked about his experiences in the war and they had no idea that he fought in such a horrendous battle.

During the Battle of Belleau Wood, Marines and German Infantryman were engaged in hand-to-hand combat in a waist high wheat field.

Germans forces used machine gun fire to try and subdue the Americans.

But after losing 1,000 Marines, the American Expeditionary Forces were able to control the area.

Last year, Russell Tucker's son and granddaughter started researching his military history.

Thanks to the Marine Corps and Congressman Brian Higgin's office, the family learned about his service in France and his eligibility for the Purple Heart.

Born in England, Russell Tucker immigrated to the Buffalo, NY area with his family as a child.

He joined the Marines at age 19 in 1917.

After being honorably discharged for serious battle inflicted wounds, Russell Tucker received the Good Conduct Medal and $229.11 from the US Government for his service.

He lived the rest of his life quietly in South Buffalo raising 7 children.

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