Purple Heart finds its way home
TRAVERSE CITY — A Turner World War II veteran’s Purple Heart has found its way from California, back to Michigan, and into the hands of the nephew of the same name.
A former Twining resident retired Chief Warrant Officer Carl Archambeau recently received his uncle’s Purple Heart, and said he plans to keep it until the day he dies.
Archambeau, who now resides in Traverse City, received the Purple Heart that belonged to his uncle, of the same name, while attending the funeral of another uncle, Glen Archambeau on Monday, Feb. 14.
Carl Archambeau said receiving the medal is a great honor.
“I feel like this is an important part of our family’s history,” he said. “I am honored to have the Purple Heart given to me, so that I can hold on to it.”
The Purple Heart was awarded to the elder Carl Archambeau after his death during World War II. Archambeau served with the United States Navy aboard the USS De Haven during the war and perished with 166 other sailors in 1943, when the ship was bombed by Japanese aircraft.
From there, the Purple Heart traveled to Michigan, California, and back again.
Jeff Archambeau, son of Glen Archambeau, said that the medal was sent out to California by relatives, and he wanted to get the medal back and into his cousin Carl’s possession.
“It kind of got lost out there,” he said. “I just thought we should get it back into (Carl’s) hands because he was named after our uncle.”
When Jeff Archambeau’s father, Glen, passed away, the Purple Heart was presented to Carl.
“I was a little surprised to receive it at the funeral,” he said.
Like his uncle before him, Carl Archambeau also spent time in the military. He said that he served during the Vietnam War in 1967-68.
“I retired as a warrant officer and served in the Marines during the Vietnam War,” he said. “I spent 29 and a half years in the military.”
During his time in Vietnam, Carl Archambeau said that he was given time off for rest and relaxation, and stopped in the Philippines where a monument with the name “Carl Archambeau” stood.
“I knew his name was at the monument, but it was weird seeing my name in marble,” he said. “It was a weird feeling seeing that.”
Carl Archambeau said that he used to have photos of his uncle’s name at the monument, but he said somewhere they got lost over time.
He added that other members of his family served in the military, including his uncle, Glen.
“Our family has a very rich history with the military,” he said. “I was fortunate not to have received a Purple Heart during my time in the war, but it is definitely an honor to have my uncle’s.”