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Congressman Higgins & Assemblywoman McMahon Join Community in Celebrating Clayton Bihl’s 100th Birthday

Leaders Help to Secure Military Service Medals Bihl Earned 80 Years Ago While Serving in WWII

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and New York State Assemblywoman Karen McMahon joined the community in wishing WWII veteran Clayton William Bihl a very happy 100th birthday. The leaders worked together in recent months to secure the military medals earned by the Williamsville resident while serving in the United States Army 80 years ago.

“There are quiet heroes among us, veterans like Sergeant Bihl who put their lives on the line to defend American freedom and returned to a humble, good life at home,” said Congressman Higgins. “We are eternally grateful for his service to this country in the United States military and to this community as a teacher. We join his family in wishing First Sergeant Bihl a happy 100th birthday.”

"Clay's story of service and sacrifice is extraordinary," said Assemblywoman McMahon (D-Amherst.) "From landing in Europe just ahead of the pivotal Battle of the Bulge, to crossing into Nazi-occupied Germany as the Allies closed in, to liberating a sub-camp of the notorious Dachau concentration camp, Clay and the veterans of World War II are truly heroes. I'm proud to have had the opportunity to honor Mr. Bihl for his remarkable service to our nation and on the joyous occasion of his 100th birthday. I know I join my colleagues in the Legislature and the people of the 146th Assembly District in wishing him a very happy birthday and sincerely thanking him for his service to our country."

Clayton Bihl was born in Buffalo on August 8, 1923. Before being drafted into the Army in 1943, Mr. Bihl worked as a drug clerk and pharmacist assistant. During his time in the Army, Bihl earned the rank of First Sergeant and served as a gunner and infantry platoon leader with the 103rd Infantry Division in the European Theatre of WWII, serving in France, Germany, and Austria. He served in the Central Europe and Rhineland campaigns.

First Sergeant Bihl was honorably discharged in 1952. Upon returning home, he attended Canisius College where he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in math. He went on to teach at Bennett High School in Buffalo and married his wife, Dorothea Utz. The couple went on to have three children together. After retiring from teaching, he helped his dad, Edward, at the family automotive parts business, Cycle and Auto Supply in East Buffalo, and volunteered at the local nursing home.

Congressman Higgins’ Office reached out to the National Personnel Records Center and the US Army. The medals were quickly verified by the National Personnel Records Center and the medals were sent overnight by the Army to arrive before his 100th Birthday party. The US Army also sent two Birthday Cards with the medals.

Decades after his service, Sergeant Clayton Bihl was presented with the following:

·         Good Conduct Medal

·         European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 2 bronze service stars

·         World War 2 Victory Medal

·         Honorable Service Lapel Button WW2

·         Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar

·         And a flag flown over the United States Capitol.

Family and friends gathered at Island Park in Williamsville on Saturday, August 5th to celebrate Mr. Bihl’s milestone birthday.