GREEN BAY - Monday afternoon Green Bay native Denis Maloney was honored for his service aboard the USS Bowers, but not from the United States. The ship's story is not well known, but it served a key role in World War II in the Pacific Theatre.
On April 16, 1945, the USS Bowers, an American destroyer ship, fell victim to a kamikaze attack outside Okinawa. Denis Maloney survived, but saw many of his shipmates die.
"We lost 105 out of 210 men and we had to bring the ship back," Maloney said. "It's tough, but I wouldn't trade it. I got an experience of life."
Decades later, Maloney is finally being honored for his service at U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble's office in Green Bay.
Maloney's daughter, Lisa Maloney-Lardinois, was happy to watch her father finally get this recognition.
"It's very nice to see my father get them. He's 87 years old. It's been 70 years since he should've got them so it's a great honor," said Maloney-Lardinois.
All four awards are from the Philippine government. The Bowers played a role in the liberation of the Philippines during World War II.
"We've been working for two years to try to get my father the Philippine Awards," explained Maloney-Lardinois.
She told us she eventually turned to Ribble's office to help.
And now that Maloney has the awards, he's on to the next project.
"I'm looking forward to getting something for the ship for Okinawa, when we took the suicide plane," explained Maloney.
Ribble told us his office will now work to get the ship a Presidential Citation.
Maloney-Lardinois is helping too, giving Ribble's office documentation on the Bowers. She told us it's an honor to do this for her father.
"He's always been a very strong individual. So I'm very proud of him," said Maloney-Lardinois.
Maloney told us his shipmates are heroes. About 20 are still alive. He said they're anxious to be acknowledged.
"Wonder, 'how come we don't get no recognition?' and I tell them, 'It takes time, it takes time like anything else,'" said Maloney.
Ribble's office said it expects to hear more on the request for a Presidential Citation for the ship sometime this fall.
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