Sabattus, ME – U.S. Senator Susan Collins participated in a posthumous Silver Star Medal presentation ceremony for Private First Class George Laplante at the Sabattus American Legion, Harry J. Conway Post 135. Senator Collins assisted PFC Laplante’s family in obtaining his military records and securing the Silver Star that he earned in the Korean War but never received.
During the ceremony, Senator Collins delivered remarks and presented members of PFC Laplante’s family with a U.S. flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor. Chaplain (Colonel) Andrew Gibson of the Maine Army National Guard; members of PFC Laplante’s family, including his brothers Richard and Robert; and several Legion members were also in attendance.
“George Laplante was a soldier in the best American tradition,” said Senator Collins. “He was a patriot who gave his all not only in defense of his comrades, but also in defense of the freedom that is the blessing of all Americans and the birthright of all people. He was then, and he is today, a hero – our hero.
“No soldier goes into battle intending to make the ultimate sacrifice. But there are rare heroes who make the decision, if need be, to sacrifice their lives for others,” Senator Collins continued. “The Silver Star is one of our nation’s highest decorations for such valor in combat.”
On October 11, 1952, PFC Laplante was grievously wounded by enemy grenades during the battle of T-Bone Hill. Despite the severity of his injuries, PFC Laplante refused to be evacuated. He remained at his position, laying down fire to suppress the enemy and to protect his comrades. PFC Laplante passed away on March 1, 1953, from his wounds.
The Silver Star Medal is the U.S. Armed Forces’ third-highest personal decoration for valor in combat. It’s awarded primarily to members of the U.S. Armed Forces for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.