98-year-old Georgia veteran receives his POW medal

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It was an award that was long overdue.

A 98-year-old Georgia veteran who served in World War II received a Prisoner of War medal for his service on Saturday.

Lt. Col. Crawford Hicks was an aircraft commander, squadron flight leader, and B-17 pilot during WWII. In May of 1944, Hicks' plane was shot down over Germany.

Hicks was held as a prisoner of war in Germany's Stalag Luft II for nearly a year before his camp was liberated in April of 1945. He remained in the military before retiring after more than two decades of service in 1966.

After hearing that Hicks had never received a medal for his experience, Sen. David Perdue's office contacted the Air Force and justified his eligibility.

“Lt. Col. Crawford Hicks is the definition of an American hero,” Sen. Perdue said in a statement. “Like so many others in the Greatest Generation, Mr. Hicks answered the call of duty and fought valiantly to protect his county. Our servicemembers have dedicated their time and abilities to uphold our way of life in America, and it is our duty to always honor their sacrifices. I am delighted that Lt. Col. Hicks has finally received this long-overdue recognition, and I thank Gen. Schwartz and the men and women of Robins Air Force Base for helping honor him.”

At a ceremony Saturday at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, Hicks was presented with the Department of Defense's POW medal for his service by former Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz.

Hicks said he was thrilled to receive the medal.

“This was the first medal that was ever presented to me; I’ve never had one pinned on before," he said. "I am very appreciative.”