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    A strange Twist of Fate


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    By a strange twist of fate, I met another Imperial German collector and I met a MoH recipient on the same day. For a vacation several years back, I took my family to Carson City, Nevada, where I had grown up and where my parents lived. I knew there would be some time to kill back home so I had pulled out some early issues of the long defunct publication ?Kaiserzeit? which listed subscriber?s names and the mailing addresses, and I figured I would try to make contact with one collector on the list who had lived in the area.

    After a couple of days in Nevada, I looked up the name in the phone book and low and behold, he was still listed. I called and introduced myself and told him of my hobby interests, and he agreed to meet me for lunch the following day in Reno. I had brought my wife along with me, thinking she would like to get out of the house and I promised the visit would be fairly short. We met my new collector friend and had a very pleasant lunch. He then asked if we would like to see his collection. Of course I accepted.

    As we pulled up behind his car to follow him, both my wife and I looked at each other incredulously at his license plate, indicating he was a MoH recipient!!

    When we arrived at his home, our host showed us around and at this point, I asked him about the license plate. He smiled sheepishly and told us that he had been awarded the medal as a young Marine in WW2. Over the next two hours, he showed us his imperial German pickelhaube and firearms collections, talked about the hobby and the old-time collectors we mutually knew, talked about his family and yes, talked about the MoH.

    The gentleman who allowed us into his home and graciously entertained us was Richard Sorenson, who as a Marine private, was awarded the MoH for his heroism during the landing on Kwajalein Atoll on February 1, 1944. During a fierce battle on the first night of the landing, Pvt. Sorenson threw himself onto a Jap hand grenade to save the lives of five of his fellow Marines by taking the brunt of the explosion. Fragments went through his thighs, hips, right arm and right leg. A corpsman was able to tie off a severed artery and covered the numerous wounds to save his life. Over the next nine months, he underwent six surgeries.

    After our visit, we corresponded back and forth a few times and he even sent me an autographed lithograph of him wearing the MoH as a young Marine. Sadly, Richard Sorenson died at the age of 80, on October 9, 2004. But I still smile when I think of the incredible day I met him.


    This Garde du Corps parade helmet was one of his favorite pieces of imperial headgear..

    IPB Image

    and this was Richard Sorenson holding up the interior of the helmet.

    IPB Image

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    • 1 month later...

    While undergoing "boot camp" at MCRD San Diego in the summer of 1979 we received a surprise inspection from the Commandant.....General Louis Wilson. As he passed by me I noticed that he only wore one row of ribbons on his shirt....MOH, Navy DSM, and Silver Star. I guess when you have the highest honor, everthing else doesn't really matter.

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