Makes me proud to be a Krone:
Finding his heart
By Mark J. Armstrong
The Daily Times
Published September 20, 2006
John R. Krone served 23 years in the U.S. Navy working
his way up from the enlisted ranks to retire as a Lt.
Commander, served as a test pilot during War World II,
flew helicopters over the frozen Arctic Circle and
once had John Wayne as a passenger.
But, the thing of which the 86-year-old veteran is
most proud is getting two Purple Heart medals
posthumously awarded to his father 88 years after they
“This is what the government sent me,” Krone said,
holding the certificates of award to his father, John
“I’m really proud of them. I just wanted my
grandchildren to know what their great-grandfather
did,” he said.
The senior Krone was born in 1898, and on June 6,
1917, he sailed for France with the U.S. Army during
War World I. According to his military records, Krone
was wounded on Nov. 6, 1917, and again on March 28,
The records did not indicate the nature of the wounds
and Krone, the son, said he never asked his father.
“To look at him you’d never know he was wounded. He
never complained, but when ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’
played, he teared up every time,” Krone said. But, “as
a kid, I saw that massive scar where his left lung was
supposed to be.”
The Purple Heart, awarded in the name of the President
of the United States to those who have been wounded or
killed while serving with the U.S. military, did not
exist before 1932.
Based on the Badge of Military Merit issued to
soldiers during the Revolutionary War by Gen. George
Washington, the Purple Heart was introduced by order
of President Herbert Hoover at the bicentennial of
The design and color was based on the badge issued by
Washington, but Gen. Douglas MacArthur added the
profile and wrote the criteria for issuing the medal
to those who were wounded or killed. MacArthur also
became the first recipient of the modern Purple Heart.
It has been awarded retroactively, by request, to
anyone wounded since April 5, 1917. However, Krone’s
father never requested the medal. Krone said it was
the controversy during the 2004 presidential election
that made him decided to seek it for his father.
Krone said he started eight months ago after gathering
his father’s military record by contacting the U.S.
Department of Defense. He received a letter back,
stating that due to the 1973 National Archives fire,
several War World I records were lost and his father’s
may be among them.
“They didn’t take any action,” Krone said.
That didn’t deter Krone, who next contacted U.S.
District 23 Rep. Henry Bonilla’s office. Krone said he
was told they would look into it, and he said when
they called him last week, he didn’t even think it was
about the medal.
Last Wednesday, Krone received the medal and
certificates from Bonilla’s office.
“I’m real proud of this. I’m going to send copies of
all of this to my kids,” he said.
Krone’s father was a crane operator with the 1st U.S.
Army Engineers during War World I. In 1942, despite
his previous injuries, he re-enlisted in the Army for
less than a year. Krone said his father, who died in
1964, could have had a ceremony to receive the medals.
“He’s not around to see it, but I wish I could get out
to California to put it on his grave,” Krone said.