July 13, 2024

This Week in Amateur Radio

North America's Premiere Amateur Radio News Magazine

Montana

100-year-old Montana World War II veteran honored with Congressional Gold Medal

“I’m in awe. I still haven’t gotten accustomed to it. I’m just in complete awe. I’m overwhelmed. I can’t really think,” said Dr. Maury Irvine upon receiving the Congressional Gold Medal.

Thursday morning, Dr. Maury Irvine, a 100-year-old World War II veteran, received the most distinguished award that Congress bestows: the Congressional Gold Medal.

“What does this mean to you?” I asked Irvine.

“I’m in awe. I still haven’t gotten accustomed to it. I’m just in complete awe. I’m overwhelmed. I can’t really think,” Irvine tells me.

Dr. Maury Irvine was born Jan. 5, 1924 in San Francisco. Soon after, Irvine moved to Montana and graduated from Butte High in 1941. Pearl Harbor and WW2 changed Maury’s life, and he knew he wanted to join the Navy.

“The war started. As soon as I heard about it, I ran down to the Navy recruiting office. I love the Navy. They immediately gave me an eye test and declared that I was unfit for service,” says Irvine, who is legally blind in his left eye.

His blindness made him ineligible for the Navy and most forces, but that wasn’t going to stop him from fighting in WW2.

“I heard there was something called the Merchant Marine, and they were looking for radio operators,” Irvine tells me.

Irvine had lots of experience with radios. In high school, he built himself a radio station and got a ham radio license. Irvine got a position with the Merchant Marines and served as a radio officer until 1946.

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