SABATTUS — The Harry J. Conway Post 135, American Legion, recently hosted a posthumous Silver Star Award presentation for George Laplante.

The event was coordinated by Sen. Susan Collins and hosted by Post Commander Joseph Michaud, who read the Silver Star Medal narrative. They were assisted by Col. Andrew Gibson, chaplain, Maine Army National Guard, who gave the Invocation and Benediction, and Laurie Sidelinger, Honor Flight Maine, who gave a rendition of the National Anthem.

Laplante was never presented with the Silver Star Medal. Laplante’s brother, Richard, contacted Collins about securing the medal for his brother, who died March 1, 1953, from the wounds he received during the T-Bone Hill Battle in North Korea.

During the Korean War, Laplante served honorably in Company E, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, U.S. Army. He was in a battalion that raided Hill 200 of the T-Bone sector on Oct. 11, 1952, in the vicinity of Chorwon, North Korea.

Private First Class George Laplante, who resided in Lewiston, enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1952 prior to graduating from high school. He was stationed at Fort Williams prior to mobilizing to Korea. He was in Company E of the 9th Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was an automatic rifleman in the infantry and was seriously wounded by enemy grenades as the company pressed an attack on the enemy hill.

Although he was severely wounded, he disregarded his wounds and refused to leave his weapon to be evacuated for medical treatment. Pvt. Laplante laid down deadly fire, causing extreme heavy casualties on the enemy, thus enabling his platoon to successfully accomplish their mission. His self-sacrifice, bravery and determination were an inspiration to those who observed his actions.

The Silver Star is the U.S. Armed Forces third highest personal decoration for valor in combat. It is awarded primarily for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.

Laplante’s brothers, Richard Laplante of Center Conway, N.H., and Robert Laplante of Sabattus, grew up in Lewiston. They are members of the American Legion. Robert and his wife, Carol, are members of the Sabattus Legion. Richard’s daughter, Christine Perk, was in attendance at the event. Also present were several members of Post 135, Auxiliary Unit 135, American Legion district officers and community members.

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