Fort Worth

Hero’s World War II medals, uniform stolen in west Fort Worth

Pictures of Louis Read, whose World War II uniform with medals and badges were stolen from his daughter’s west Fort Worth home Tuesday.
Pictures of Louis Read, whose World War II uniform with medals and badges were stolen from his daughter’s west Fort Worth home Tuesday. WFAA

Louis Read survived the Bataan death march in World War II and worked as slave labor in the Japanese mines.

When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, he was marking his own grave, his daughter, Phyllis Wood, said. He had dwindled to 80 pounds.

Now, Wood is trying to recover her father’s prized keepsake.

His military uniform, with medals and badges attached, was stolen from a storage unit in the back yard of Wood’s residence on Pershing Avenue in west Fort Worth.

A Purple Heart and a Bronze Star were among the medals he received, Wood said.

She discovered the uniform gone Tuesday when she came home for lunch. The thief used a crowbar to break into the storage unit, she said.

Fort Worth police are investigating.

Wood’s father died in 2011 at age 90. She had been keeping the uniform in the storage unit because the house doesn’t have enough closet space, she said.

“When I held the suit and looked at it, it was like seeing him and being with him,” Wood said.

Read, who lived in Dallas, twice served a grand marshal of a veterans parade, Wood said. The Dallas Morning News published an obituary.

During the war, he served in the 31st Infantry Regiment in the Pacific and was captured on the Bataan Peninsula. He spent 3 1/2 years as a prisoner of war, Wood said.

His uniform, she said, “means the world to me.”

“It symbolized what he endured,” Wood said. “It’s not just magic that we live in a free country.”

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