World War II veteran honored during Veterans Day ceremony in Wasilla

World War II veteran Jim Schmidt, 94, of Anchorage, was honored during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Mat-Su Veterans Wall of Honor on Thursday.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, shared Schmidt’s amazing story of service with the crowd gathered in a snowstorm in Wasilla. Sullivan previously shared Schmidt’s story on the U.S. Senate floor in October as the “Alaskan of the Week.”

Schmidt was 14 years old when he enlisted in the U.S. Army to fight in World War II. When he was wounded in combat in Italy, his mother asked President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to send him home. Shortly after returning home, he joined the U.S. Navy at 16 years old and served on a destroyer before they found out he was too young. He served the remainder of the war with the Merchant Marines.

Schmidt re-enlisted in the U.S. Army when he was 18 and went on to serve in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He earned two Silver Stars for heroism, three Bronze Stars for heroism and two Purple Hearts for being wounded in combat before retiring as a sergeant major.