Late Roanoke native Slaughter honored as Congressional Gold Medal awarded to World War II Rangers
BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - Although World War II veteran Bob Slaughter passed away in 2012, his service is still being honored a decade later.
Slaughter enrolled in the Virginia National Guard before later becoming part of the 29th Ranger Infantry Battalion before it was disbanded in 1943. He went on to fight at Normandy and lived to tell the tale.
A newly-awarded Congressional Gold Medal continues to honor his service and the other Rangers from the war.
“[The Congressional Gold Medal] recognizes their place in history with great appreciation that they had done something enormous and the World War II Rangers certainly qualified,” said John Long, National D-Day Memorial director of education.
Long says the award is meaningful, but something Slaughter would use to highlight others.
“He did not want to draw attention to himself. He wanted the men who didn’t come home to get all the attention,” said Long.
Long says the Rangers’ training was invaluable as Slaughter and others hit the beaches of Normandy. It’s that training that Long says helped Slaughter survive and go on to advocate for the creation of the memorial.
“They never got to fight as Rangers, but Bob would often say the special Ranger training that he got very likely saved his life when he did face combat,” said Long. “The big win here is the recognition that not just the 29th Rangers but the 2nd and the 5th and the other Ranger units received from this so that they won’t be forgotten in history.”
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