U.S. Rep. Ellzey earns Patton award

Mar. 12—General George Patton was the tip of the spear for the American Army in Europe during World War II, often making the initial thrust to allow others to follow on in the wake of his famous Third Army Group.

The National George Patton Award recognizes a government official who has demonstrated a love of Veterans through their leadership and action in support of the organization's effort to have a non-Presidential State Funeral to be held for the last Medal of Honor recipient from the Second World War, the Korean War, and the War in Vietnam.

The National George Patton Award presentation ceremony for Congressman Ellzey was conducted Feb. 28 at the United States Capitol.

Other citizens previously honored by the State Funeral Organization include United States Senator Joe Manchin; WWII Medal of Honor recipients Hershel Williams and Charles Coolidge, and Congressman Steve Scalise.

"It is a privilege to be the first recipient of the National George Patton Award," Ellzey said. "Hershel 'Woody' Williams' actions in Iwo Jima are ones for the history books. It was an honor to assist the State Funeral for World War II Veterans organization in having Woody "Lain in Honor" here in our nation's Capitol. Thank you again, the State Funeral for World War II Veterans organization, for this tremendous honor."

Founded on Labor Day of 2017, State Funeral for World War II Veterans is organized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Its five-year successful effort to obtain a National Funeral for the last MOH recipient from World War II resulted in the following support: — 15 State Legislatures who passed the resolution — 16 Letters of support from different State Congressional delegations — Nine Letters of endorsement from Governors — Resolution passed by the American Legion at their 100th Convention — Letters of support from the Military Order of the Purple Heart, many VFW posts, and many other Veterans organizations

Duyane Norman, Washington D.C. Chair for State Funeral for War Veterans, said " Like General Patton, Jake Ellzey graduated from one of our nation's premier service academies. Honoring Gold Star Families, Medal of Honor recipients, and fighting for Veterans are passions that both men had in common."

"Jake Ellzey has been a very strong and able Congressional leader of our mission," said State Funeral for War Veterans Chairman Lee William (Bill) McNutt. "He hosted our delegation on July 14, 2022, the day of the service in the Rotunda of the Capitol for the last World War II Medal of Honor recipient, Hershel "Woody" Williams. Congressman Ellzey obtained for us the flag that flew over the Capitol on the day of Woody's historic service. Jake Ellzey also entered the story of our organization's success into the Congressional Record." Note: The funeral flag flown on July 14, 2022, was beautifully framed and presented by the State Funeral for War Veterans organization to the National Medal of Honor Museum in Arlington, on Jan. 18, 2023.

In total, 473 Americans received our nation's highest military honor during the Second World War. None of these honorees remain. In the Korean War, 3.5 million Americans served and 146 received the United States' highest military decoration. 2.5 million men and women served in the Vietnam War and 266 received the Medal of Honor. 64 of these honorees are still living.

The mission statement of the State Funeral for War Veterans organization is: "To convince Congress to pass legislation to grant a State Funeral for the last Medal of Honor recipients from the Korean War and the Vietnam War, as a final to salute to all the men and women who served."

The organization presenting this award, State Funeral for War Veterans, has presented its George Marshall Award to the United States Senator from West Virginia Joe Manchin in 2022, and to Congressman Steve Scalise in 2019. World War II Medal of Honor holders Charles Coolidge of Tennessee (2021) and Hershel "Woody" Williams (2020) also received the George Marshall Award.

A State Funeral is a seven to 10-day national event and consists of ceremonies within the state where the honoree was in residence, ceremonies within Washington, D.C., and in the state (or at Arlington National Cemetery) where the authorized individual has chosen to be interred. The last two State Funerals were Ronald Reagan in 2004 and George Bush in 2018. The last non-Presidential State Funeral was General Douglas MacArthur in 1964.

This effort is the brainchild of Bill and Susana McNutt's 10-year-old daughter, Rabel, a Hockaday School of Dallas student, in honor of her godfather, Walter Ehlers. Ehlers was the oldest holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor when he died in 2014. Ehlers received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his gallantry during The Battle of Normandy in France, in June 1944.