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POSTHUMOUS WWII MEDALS REVIVE MEMORIES

Memories of a City of Tonawanda man killed in World War II have come back stronger than ever for his sister and her daughters through an unusual combination of events.

Monday, Rep. John J. LaFalce, D-Town of Tonawanda, presented five decorations to the family of Sgt. Warren "Skip" Muck, a paratrooper who was killed during the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium on Jan. 10, 1945.

They included the Purple Heart, which replaced one lost when the family moved 45 years ago, and four more he was entitled to but never received.

Muck, a member of the 101st Airborne Division, was part of a unit whose exploits were recounted in a book, "Band of Brothers," by Stephen E. Ambrose. The book has been made into a television miniseries to air on Home Box Office in September.

Actor Richard Speight Jr., who plays Muck in the series, tracked down the family and last February called Muck's sister, Ruth Muck LaFleur, from London, where the filming was taking place, looking for information on her brother.

"He wanted to know more about the character he was playing and asked if he had won any medals," LaFleur said. "I told him we had received a Purple Heart but when we sold my mother's house (in 1966) it must have gotten lost."

That prompted one of her four daughters, Eileen O'Hara of Brockport, to contact LaFalce's office to ask if a replacement could be obtained.

Research found he was eligible not only for a replacement Purple Heart, but the Bronze Star for bravery, Combat Infantryman Badge, Presidential Unit Citation and World War II Victory Medal.

O'Hara and another sister, Becky Krurnowski of the City of Tonawanda, plan to travel to France for the series premier in June, meet Speight and visit their uncle's grave in Luxembourg.

In the meantime, the family has been in contact with other members of the "Band of Brothers," a bunch of GIs who trained and fought together and whose survivors have remained in touch.

The members of E Company of the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division endured some of the heaviest fighting of the war, parachuting several times behind enemy lines. Talking to the men, who were gathering information for the book, "has brought some closure," LaFleur said. "I didn't know what happened to my brother."

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