Donald Gillen, a U.S. Army veteran, was honored for his service as Brig. Gen. Lee Payne, Air Mobility Command surgeon general, presented the Congressional Gold Medal to him during a ceremony at Scott Air Force Base Jan. 6.
The medal is the highest civilian award that Congress bestows and it honors the 260,000 Filipinos who fought alongside American forces during World War II and it honors the more than 57,000 Filipino troops who died.
Gillen served in the Philippines as part of the 12th Division at Camp O’Donnell and as a company commander for the 57th Infantry Regiment in Marikina, and later entered into the Army Reserve and later the Nebraska National Guard.
While the congressional ceremony was held in October 2017, Gillen was not able to attend. His son, retired Brig. Gen. Dan Gillen, former assistant to both the AMC and U.S. Transportation Command surgeon generals, was present for the ceremony at Scott.