Late Augusta World War II Veteran recognized in special ceremony

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Paratrooper Sus Gonzalez was awarded the British Distinguished Conduct Medal, the second highest British honor during World War II. But it’s an award the Augusta native would never receive.

It’s a medal, his sister Esther Mayes, says he would never take home. Gonzales was in H. Company, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment 82nd Airborne Division.

She said, “when Sus was killed, we got the word at night. His boss on the railroad brought the telegram. My dad did breakdown and sob. It was the first time I ever saw him cry.”

He was killed during the Battle of the Bulge, “they told us that he was shot coming down and he was wounded. Then the telegram came home the 30th that he had died.”

But it's his actions in Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne operation during the war, that he is being recognized for.

Mayes say Sus jumped into battle angry over news of his brother, who was also in combat. She said, “he had just gotten word that Frank had been killed. I guess he just had that fire burning in him. He didn't care. It was a way of getting even.”

He survived Operation Market Garden and was scheduled to come home for Christmas, “I know we were looking forward to him to come home but he jumped in the Battle of the Bulge.”

But he never made it home. Mayes said, “you're crushed. It's like my parents never talked about him. They might with each other but around us they never did.”

While many decades have past, Sus' actions aren't forgotten and the medal will finally make its way home. She said, "I know now that he will never be forgotten because he will be in the British archives. I'll be on cloud 9."

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