Villanova Basketball Star Honored Posthumously For Service In World War II
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Jewish War Veterans honored a Villanova basketball star on Sunday who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country during World War II.
Herman "Chuck" Drizen was among the first wave of Marines to land in Iwo Jima in February of 1945. Rocky terrain and beaches filled with Volcanic Ash meant soldiers took the island on foot, with Drizen leading the platoon of 13 men that destroyed three Japanese tanks and killed dozens of Japanese soldiers.
The group is making sure his legacy lives on.
"He was a hero," says Jerry Blum is National Commander of the Jewish War Veterans. "He will live forever in the memory through the people who belong to the Jewish War Veterans through this post."
Drizen was 6'2" Villanova basketball star known as a "sharp shooter." Instead of taking a chance on the fledgling NBA, Drizen went into the Marines, but he died on the battlefield on March 6, 1945. Drizen's heroic acts went uncelebrated by the U.S. government until President Obama awarded Drizen the Presidential Medal of Honor in 2014.
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The Drizen-Weiss Post 215 celebrated their name sake Sunday with a memorial in their Northeast Philadelphia Headquarters.
"To show that Jews who served in the war we weren't just pencil pushers," Blum says. "Many of us fought physically in the war."
The late Louis Rublin was also honored for his service in the Battle of the Bulge. Rublin lost several toes due to frostbite and earned a Purple Heart. His son, Burt, received a replacement burial flag given to the family after the original flag went missing.
"My dad served proudly in WWII and almost lost his life," says Rublin, "and my mother-in-law and father-in-law are Polish and suffered greatly in WWII, so I have connections with both sides of the war and I am proud to be here today."
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