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Biloxi man calls it an honor to receive father's WWI medals

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD 
 Francis Ward, left, receives medals his father, Frank G. Ward, won during World War I during ceremony at U.S. Senator Thad Cochran's office on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Gulfport. U.S Sen. Thad Cochran´s Chief of Staff, Keith Heard, presented Ward the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart and French Fourragere all earned by his father.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD Francis Ward, left, receives medals his father, Frank G. Ward, won during World War I during ceremony at U.S. Senator Thad Cochran's office on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Gulfport. U.S Sen. Thad Cochran´s Chief of Staff, Keith Heard, presented Ward the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart and French Fourragere all earned by his father. SUN HERALD

GULFPORT -- Military service ran in the Ward family.

Frank G. Ward joined the Army at age 14 and, a generation later, two of his sons joined the Navy at ages 15 and 16.

So Frank Ward's son, Francis Ward, called receiving medals earned by his father in World War I on Tuesday "One of the greatest honors of my life."

U.S Sen. Thad Cohcran's Chief of Staff, Keith Heard, presented to Francis Ward the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart and French Fourragere -- all earned by his father.

"He was always patriotic. He raised me as a patriot and I'll be one the rest of my life," Francis Ward said.

Frank Ward joined the Army during the Mexican Revolution. He went on to serve in WWI, earning one award for crossing a "no-man's land" to take out an enemy sniper. When World War II broke out, he was commissioned as a captain in the Marine Corps, his son said.

Frank Ward was killed in a car accident in 1957, while leaving a Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in California.

"Frank Ward was an American Hero, who in WWI went over to defend freedom and democracy," Heard said. "Mr. Francis Ward carried on his father's tradition."

Francis Ward, who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, called the medals "beautiful."

"I'm so grateful to my country, on behalf of my father," he said. "When I go, these will be passed to the appropriate people in my family."

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