A Veterans Day celebration came a day early for 99-year-old, decorated World War II veteran Clarence “Chuck” Tompkins.
During his four-day stay at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital for implantation of a pacemaker, Tompkins had his care team in awe with the firsthand accounts of serving in the Battle of the Bulge and the first wave of D-Day in Normandy – history the rest of us can only read about in books or watch in documentaries. He served in Darby’s Rangers of the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division.
His battle wounds are badges of honor. He was slightly wounded in France, but persevered. During the Battle of the Bulge, he was severely wounded after being shot four times by a machine gun.
His valiant service and sacrifices led to nearly a dozen special decorations, including two Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two medals from France, including the Medal of the Jubilee of Liberty. In May, he served as honorary grand marshal of the Myrtle Beach Military Appreciation Days parade.
When Tidelands Health hospitalist physician Dr. Richard Cutchin learned of his patient’s decorated service, he collaborated with Tidelands Health leaders to show the health system’s appreciation for this “true American hero” on the eve of Veterans Day.
“His story is amazing. We have to do something for him. I just felt compelled,” Dr. Cutchin said. “We have very few of these veterans still with us. Each and every one of them deserve every bit of gratitude, honor and respect that we can bestow on them.”