CLINTON — U.S. Army National Guard veteran Kenneth C. Thayer, 95, was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation Medal in recognition of valorous service during World War II as a member of K-Company, 3rd Battalion, 119th Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, also known as “Old Hickory,” during a special ceremony held Sunday at Brookdale Senior Living.
Thayer was presented with the medal by Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, R-22, New Hartford.
Thayer’s unit helped liberate Maastricht, a small town in The Netherlands, during World War II. It was the first major city in the Netherlands liberated by the Allies.
In recognition of his contributions to these victories, Thayer was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, two Bronze stars and three Purple Hearts. Between June 1944 through May 1945, Thayer’s unit, the 30th Infantry Division, served in every major European Theater of Operations. Until today, the 30th Infantry Division had not received the distinct honor of a Presidential Unit Citation.
“It is such a distinct honor to stand here with Mr. Thayer today in recognition and honor of his service,” said Tenney during Sunday’s presentation. “Through the course of his military service, Mr. Thayer showed immense bravery, reminding us all of the patriotic service that has made America the greatest country in the world. I am honored to present him with the Presidential Unit Citation Medal to commemorate his service and sacrifice. I cannot express enough my deep appreciation for his patriotism and courage. He exemplifies the best of the Great Generation.”
In March, Thayer was presented with a letter and certificate from the Netherlands, thanking him for his service in liberating their village, which was presented by Helmuth-Ingalls American Legion Post 232 Adjunct Ken Shilkret, along with Post 232 Commander George Reschetnikow.