Mr. Richard Leibel, age 97, is The My GI 2017 Soldier of The Year. He is pictured here receiving a second award, a Senatorial Proclimation from State Senator Joe Uecker. Mr. Liebel entered the United States Army in 1941. Tech Corporal Leibel was an amphibious DUKW driver with the famous 485th Amphibious Assault Team. He was supposed to arrive at Normandy Beach four hours after our initial D-Day landing. A terrible storm caused his landing party to change course and they arrived after the initial invasion. Shortly after enlisting, he was involved in an accident where his troop transport veered of course and rolled down a hill. He spent eleven months in the hospital and qualified for a medical discharge, but volunteered to stay. His party did end up at Normandy where he fought along Rhineland and other parts of central Europe.
Tech Corporal Leibel received a European Ribbon with four bronze stars and an AmEuro Ribbon with four bronze stars. He has authored a book, Memoir of a DUKW Driver, you can find on Amazon.com.
Senator Joe Uecker took me to lunch when I was fourteen to discuss high level military service and a career in government service. He is a regular speaker at My GI Foundation banquets and is always ready to lend a hand to support my philanthropy and service to veterans. He has represented the 14th District since 2013 as a Republican member of the Ohio Senate.
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