An Army staff sergeant was finally awarded the Silver Star he earned 75 years ago

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An Army staff sergeant who "represents the very best of the 101st Airborne Division" has finally received a Silver Star for his heroic actions during the Battle of the Bulge after a 75-year delay.

On Sunday, Staff Sgt. Edmund "Eddie" Sternot was posthumously awarded with a Silver Star for his heroics while leading a machine gun team in the Ardennes Forest. The award, along with Sternot's Bronze Star and Purple Heart, was presented to his only living relative, Sternot's first cousin, 80-year-old Delores Sternot.

On Jan. 4, 1945, Sternot — assigned to 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team "Bastogne," 101st Airborne Division — and his unit were taking heavy fire from the Germans in the Ardennes. Sternot led his machine gun section from position to position, pushing back on the enemy, which according to the Defense Department, resulted in the death of 60 Germany soldiers.

He earned the Silver Star, but he was killed just days later on Jan. 13, when he "courageously exposed himself to enemy fire to throw a hand grenade" before he could receive the award, according to a DoD press release.

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U.S. Army retired Maj. Gen. Edward Dorman III, left, presents Staff Sgt. Edmund Sternot's Silver Star to Delores Sternot.U.S. Army/Maj. Vonnie Wright

"Staff Sgt. Eddie Sternot is part of the Greatest Generation and the 101st Airborne Division's incredible history," Maj. Gen. Brian Winski, commander of the 101st, said in the press release.

"I'm extremely proud that we are able to render proper honors to him and to his family with the presentation of a Silver Star that Staff Sgt. Sternot earned during the Battle of the Bulge."

Retired Army Lt. Col. Bill Linn worked to get the Silver Star to the Sternot family for "over 20 years," the press release says. He said in the release that this "was about principle," and he has "always fought for principles."

"It doesn't matter if 75 years went by or what his rank was," Linn said. "He deserved this ceremony. This is a win for the Army. This is a win for the 101st Airborne Division."