UPDATE: Pentagon staffers honor Father Aloysious Schmitt, Iowa m - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Pentagon staffers honor Father Aloysious Schmitt, Iowa man who died in Pearl Harbor attack

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Father Aloysius Schmitt Father Aloysius Schmitt
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

UPDATE:  An American hero, an Iowan is finally being recognized with one of the highest military honors.

The United States Navy presenting the family of Father Aloysious Schmitt with the Silver Star Medal during a ceremony at Loras College.

On Dec. 7, 1941, 76-years ago, he sacrificed his life and saved countless others during the Pearl Harbor attack. 

"And because of his concern for his shipmates, and for the love of his countrymen...that he stepped out of the opportunity to be rescued and ensure other souls would find themselves to life," said Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben, the chief of chaplains for the U.S. Navy.

At just 32-years old, it was a brave and selfless act for the chaplain from St. Lucas.

He received previous medals, but many felt he deserved an upgrade for valor in combat. "Father Al deserved a bigger medal, then I did a little research and I couldn't understand why the Navy had not rewarded him for his act of heroism," said Dick Bridges, Air Force Veteran from Dubuque.

Just last year, his remains were identified and he was finally laid to rest.

His family is grateful.

"We thought, could it be possible that we have both these events occur," said his great-nephew Dr. Steve Sloan. "Could Father Al be identified, and could we have his medal upgraded? And then to find out he actually was identified and now to have his medal upgraded. It truly is an amazing time for our family," he said.

Father Al Schmitt previously received the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Medal, also the Purple Heart. All will be on display at the entrance of Christ the King Chapel at Loras College, were he graduated from.

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Staffers from the Pentagon are traveling to Dubuque today to honor an eastern Iowa man who died in the Pearl Harbor attack.

Aloysious Schmitt is credited with helping sailors escape a battleship during the attack. Today, his family will receive a Silver Star Medal of Heroism.

Schmitt was born in St. Lucas and attended, what is now, Loras College in Dubuque. 

KWWL's Shirley Descorbeth contributed to this report. 

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