Durbin Honors World War II Veteran with Service Medals

[CHICAGO] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today presented Chicago resident Joe Hoppe, a World War II veteran, with five medals he earned for his service in the Navy at Autumn Green Senior Living Center. When Durbin met Hoppe at a seniors forum last year, he learned the veteran had had trouble obtaining the medals he had earned in combat. 

“Joe Hoppe is an American hero and it’s an honor to present him with the medals he courageously earned but never received for his service in World War II,” Durbin said. “He volunteered to go overseas and put his life on the line for the good of our country. These medals are long overdue recognition for a man who sacrificed so much for others throughout his life.”

Hoppe enlisted in the U.S. Navy on March 17, 1941.  He was a 1st Class Petty Officer and served as a baker stationed on the USS Wichita, a heavy cruiser patrolling the seas between Iceland and Greenland.  He later served on the USS Alpine attack transport and served in every Theatre of War during WWII. Hoppe served with the U.S. Navy for nearly six years, joining when the United States was supporting England and Russia against Germany, protecting their supply and troop ships in the North Atlantic.

Joe and his wife, Charlotte, were pen-pals during the war. They were happily married for 66 years before she passed away in August 2011. Hoppe has lived in Chicago ever since his discharge in 1946 and has a daughter, Alison, and grandchild, Eris. He has worked as a baker all his life.

His father and brother both served in the U.S. Marine Corp 2nd Division and his brother died while serving.  Hoppe has repeatedly said it’s his brother who deserves the medals Durbin presented today.

Today Hoppe was awarded the Navy Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal.