Original U.S. WWII 1st Infantry Division Double Silver Star Recipient Luftwaffe D-Day Bring Back Grouping
Original Items: One-of-a-kind collection! This is extraordinary. Purchased directly from the Veteran’s estate. Kenneth Eugene Fullen (serial No 34288595) a true hero, was a member of the 16th Infantry, 1st infantry division (The Big Red One) during WWII. After serving in North Africa he took part in the D-Day landing on Omaha beach. At the end of 1944 he was struck by a sniper in Aachen Germany and lost sight in one eye. During his service he is credited with killing 45 enemy and was awarded three Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars and a score of other awards for his bravery in battle. As a souvenir he recovered a German Luftwaffe Camouflage (NS 64) helmet after the D-Day invasion and painted on the back:
Perhaps the most wonderful aspect to this grouping is a photo of Fullen holding this very helmet along with another photo of him holding a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
Included in the grouping are the following:
German Luftwaffe Camouflage Helmet (NS 64)
Silver Star with two Oak Clusters (awarded for Gallantry in Action)
2 x Bronze Stars (awarded for Heroic Achievment)
1st Division Infantry Patch
Sterling Silver CIB (Combat Infantry Man) Pin
Army Good Conduct Medal Ribbon Bar, European- Africa- Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and Ribbon Bar.
Sterling Silver Marksman Ship bars for Rifle and Machine Gun.
2 x Original Photos of Fullen. One with the helmet the other with medals.
Internet research about Fullen.
Fullens passed away in 2013 but story is best told by one of many articles about him, this is from the Greeneville Sun (Tennessee):
Silver-Star Winner, Other Vets Honored By Ruritans
Wednesday, November 11, 2009 12:00 am
BILL JONES - STAFF WRITER
Kenneth Fullen, 88,
Survived Being Hit, By Sniper's Bullet; Killed 45 Of Enemy
Kenneth Eugene Fullen, an 88-year-old Ottway resident who won two Silver Stars and survived being hit by a sniper's bullet during World War II, was among local veterans honored during a Monday night program at the Ottway Ruritan Club.
During an interview before Monday evening's Veterans Day program at the Ottway Ruritan Club, Fullen recalled his World War II service with U.S. Army's famed First Infantry Division.
Fullen lost the sight in his right eye when he was shot by a German sniper in 1944.
As he spoke, Fullen sat before a glass-covered display case that held a Silver Star medal with an oak-leaf cluster attached to its ribbon.
The oak-leaf cluster denotes a second award of the Silver Star, which is the nation's second-highest medal for valor in battle. Only the Congressional Medal of Honor is higher.
Also in the glass-covered case was a Bronze Star, other medals, a Combat Infantryman's badge and a 1st Infantry Division shoulder patch.
ONE OF MOST-DECORATED
The two Silver Stars, the Bronze Star and campaign ribbons with eight battle stars, from North Africa to the Battle of the Bulge, indicate that Fullen is one of Tennessee's most highly-decorated World War II veterans.
In World War II, the 1st Infantry Division suffered 21,023 casualties among the 43,743 men who served in its ranks.
Its soldiers had won a total of 20,752 medals and awards, including 16 Congressional Medals of Honor, according to the 1st Infantry Division Association's Web site.
Known as "the Big Red 1," the division fought all the way from North Africa to Germany during the war. In so doing it also took over 100,000 prisoners, according to the Web site.
The soft-spoken Fullen had told Greeneville Sun Columnist Bob Hurley in 1999 that it was hard for him to talk about the suffering he, and other soldiers endured during World War II.
In fact, Hurley wrote, Fullen chose "not to talk about it at all most of the time."
But on Monday evening, Fullen spoke briefly about his service.
He noted that he won the first of his two silver stars for his actions against the Germans in North Africa.
KILLED 45 OF ENEMY
He recalled that he fired a "whole box of ammunition" from a .30-cal. machine-gun into a building occupied by German soldiers who had his patrol pinned down. "They told me that I killed 45 men," Fullen said. "I don't know, but that's what they told me."
During the North African campaign, Fullen said on Monday night, he went 107 days without having his boots off or changing clothes.
But Fullen says he doesn't know why he received the second Silver Star. "They just gave it to me when I got out of the Army," he said.
He noted that his memory of late-war events is hazy because of the trauma he suffered when he was shot in the head by a sniper near the German city of Aachen in late 1944.
"I was out (unconscious) for 12 days," he said. "The doctors gave me up for dead and quit coming to see me. Later they told me that God must have been looking out for me."
Fullen said that when he awoke in an Army hospital a dozen days after being wounded, he initially feared that he was blind because heavy bandages covered his eyes.
By chance, he said, he discovered when one of the bandages slipped that he still had vision in his left eye.
"A nurse was feeding me and I told her that I could do it myself," he said, in discovering that he could still see with his left eye. Fullen noted that he immediately demonstrated to the nurse that he could see well enough to eat without assistance.
On Monday night, Fullen said he gives the credit for his survival to God.
He recalled that he returned to the U.S. by ship after additional medical treatment in England.
Once back in the U.S., Fullen said he spent time and underwent additional surgery at a hospital in Memphis before finally being released.
He had grown up in a large family that lived in the Romeo community of northern Greene County. "We lived right behind the school there," he said on Monday.
He had six brothers and five sisters, and he said three of the brothers joined him in service during World War II. All of his brothers also survived the war.
During Monday evening's Veterans Day program at the Ottway Ruritan Club, which is located near Fullen's home, Bill Snodgrass, district director of U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, of Johnson City, presented Fullen with a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capital and said Fullen would receive a Congressional certificate of recognition for his WWII accomplishments later.
"It doesn't get any more American than this," Snodgrass said on Monday night of the Ottway Ruritan Club meeting in which Fullen and other veterans were honored.
Snodgrass also read aloud from the text of a Presidential Unit Citation that Fullen's unit received during World War II.
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