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WWI veteran posthumously honored with the Purple Heart in Baltimore

Posted at 6:01 AM, Jun 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-06 18:01:25-04

The Coast Guard posthumously honored a World War I veteran with a Purple Heart Tuesday.

Seaman 1st Class Francis Leroy Wilkes served in the first World War. The Purple Heart was awarded to his great-nephew, Vincent Warren Woodland.

Wilkes escorted several ships between Gibraltar, Spain and Milford Haven, Wales, in submarine-infested waters during the war. He served his entire career on the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa, and had 18 convoys without incident. But on Sept. 26, 1918, Tampa was torpedoed by a German submarine and the entire crew died. Wilkes was one of 11 African-Americans aboard the ship.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.