Hood Herald/CATRINA RAWSON - Bob Bearden presses his hand to his heart during the playing of the national anthem June 28 at III Corps. - -

By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Fort Hood Herald

You see Bob Bearden and you know he has stories. Good ones.

It's evident in his gait, the jump suit and veterans ball cap he wears and that mischievous smile on his face.

More than 66 years ago, Sgt. Bob Bearden was an 82nd Airborne Division soldier in a C-47 that buzzed over England. His plane was one of hundreds that circled the sky that night, preparing for the "biggest show ever staged" - the D-Day invasion.

Bearden was captured by German forces two days later and was eventually liberated. What happened between his jump that night and return to Texas is the stuff of which Hollywood movies are made.

Bearden wrote a book about his experiences: "To D-Day and Back: Adventures with the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment and Life as a World War II POW: A memoir."

It was a reader who asked Bearden if he ever received medals and awards for his actions in Europe. He hadn't. What followed were years of work by Bearden's friends and family, the Army, Department of Veterans Affairs and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's office in Washington.

On June 28, during a ceremony at III Corps headquarters, Bearden was presented with the Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, Prisoner of War Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one Bronze Service Star and Bronze Arrowhead Device, World War II Victory Medal, French Fourragere, Expert Badge with Rifle Bar, Basic Parachutist Badge with one Bronze Service Star and Honorable Service Lapel Button-WWII.

While the summer ceremony was in his honor, Bearden said this week he thought about "my friends who rest under those beautiful markers in the American Cemetery in Normandy."

To read more about Bearden, go to www.kdhnews.com/news/story.aspx?s=42571&q.

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