107-year-old WWII vet receives silver star decades after his military records were lost in a fire

107-year-old First Sergeant Harold Nelson poses for a photograph with Maj. Gen. David Hodne and Maj. Gen. Charles Costanza after receiving the silver star during a ceremony at Fort Carson on Oct. 4, 2022.

A 107-year-old World War Two veteran is now wearing a silver star after a ceremony this week at Fort Carson army base.

It was a long-awaited validation for the family of First Sergeant Harold Nelson. Officials were forced to piece together his battle history after his military records were lost in a Kansas City structure fire in the 1970s.

“I kind of forgot about it … it took so long,” Nelson said during the ceremony at the installation’s parade grounds Tuesday. 

A brass band played to dozens gathered in bleachers to honor the awarding of Nelson’s silver star, which now joins a bronze star and two purple hearts.

Nelson was born in 1915 in Nebraska and now lives in Denver.

He was drafted into the army’s 3rd Infantry Division in 1941 at 26 years old. He went on to make six amphibious assaults in northern Africa and Italy under enemy fire. He was shot three times, took a piece of shrapnel to his chest and survived a grenade explosion to his back.

"I guess the good lord was looking after me," Nelson said. 

“Today’s event is one of the most incredible things I’ve done since joining the Army 34 years ago,” said Major General Charles D. Costanza, Commanding General of the 3rd Infantry Division. “As I look out at this group wearing the green uniform and those that have served before, I know you all will carry this legacy and this example that First Sergeant Nelson set for all of us.”