Coast Guard awards Purple Heart to World War II veteran in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – The Coast Guard presented Harry Milton Daube, 88, the sole survivor of the USS Leopold, a 306-foot Coast Guard manned torpedo attack ship, the Purple Heart Friday at his home in New Smyrna Beach.

More than 66 years ago Seaman First Class Daube served in the Coast Guard aboard the USS Leopold, an Edsall class destroyer, before the ship was struck and devastated by an enemy torpedo March 9, 1944, in freezing cold water south of Iceland.

Harry Milton Daube, 88, holds a Purple Heart after being awarded the medal during a ceremony at his home in New Smyrna Beach, Friday, June 4, 2010.

Three hundred and fifty seven Coast Guardsmen lost their lives in the attack. Daube and the 27 other survivors waited on a life raft to be rescued after the Leopold split into two pieces and eventually sank.

After his return to the United States, Daube said he continued to serve in the Coast Guard, in New York, until the end of World War II.

Daube accepted the Purple Heart in company of close friends and a few local Coast Guardsmen.

The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in the world in present use and the first American award made available to the common soldier. The Purple Heart was established by Gen. George Washington in Newburgh, N.Y., Aug. 7, 1782. The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the president of the United States to any member of an armed force or any civilian national of the United States who has been wounded or killed in action.

Additional photos of the presentation can be found at the Coast Guard News Facebook page.

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