Local News

WWII vet honored in Johnston County with Bronze Star

Posted July 8, 2018 10:40 p.m. EDT
Updated July 8, 2018 10:45 p.m. EDT

— Some 70 years after his heroics on the battlefield, a local World War II veteran was honored Sunday for the valor he showed during one of the world's deadliest armed conflict.

Wilbert "Pete" Sellers, 95, cried when he received a Bronze Star medal at the First Christian Church as part of an effort by the Veterans' Legacy Foundation, which works to get veterans and their families the recognition they deserve.

Sellers said he felt that other soldiers were more deserving of medals than he was.

"I feel like I hadn't done my job," he said. "I hadn't finished it."

The Veterans' Legacy Foundation is based in North Carolina. The group works to ensure that the sacrifices of U.S. military members are recognized and celebrated.

Sellers was a Private First Class enlistee in the U.S. Army during World War II, serving with the 232nd Infantry Regiment in Europe. He was captured by Nazi forces during the Battle of the Bulge, Germany's last major offensive campaign as the conflict wound down.

Sellers said he was able to escape his captors by burrowing through a drainage pipe along with a dozen more prisoner who had been taken to a POW camp..

Retired Brigadier Gen. Russell Hargis presided over the ceremony Sunday in Johnston County to honor Sellers.

"Based on what I've learned about Mr. Seller, he was fully prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice," Hargis said. "And you were tested much greater than few people ever, ever experience."

During the ceremony, Sellers was given the Bronze Star Medal despite having refused the honor for several years.

"All those wonderful GIs who gave their lives, their limbs (and) so many things they gave up," he said. "I wasn't worthy of what they had done."