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World War II Vet Gets Medals Almost 70 Years Late

May 28, 2014, 10:03 PM by Don Jorgensen

World War II Vet Gets Medals Almost 70 Years Late
SCOTLAND, SD -

One of the last surviving members of the famed World War II guerrilla force known as "Merrill's Marauders," was honored Wednesday during a special ceremony in Scotland. As you're about to see, this ceremony was almost 60 years in the making.

92 year old Delmar Strunk never considered himself a hero, but today he was awarded with several medals, including the Bronze Star and the Presidential Unit Citation that he earned while fighting in World War II.

"Had many tough nights and I'll never forget them, never," Strunk said.

President Roosevelt called for volunteers for a dangerous and hazardous mission to go deep into the jungles of Burma with mules and disrupt Japanese supply lines and communication.

The call was answered by approximately 3,000 American soldiers, including Strunk, who served admirably and survived unthinkable odds against the Japanese at times.

"I was so glad to get out of there, I spent 50 years trying to forget the whole thing," Strunk said

Senator John Thune, who was at today's ceremony, says it's unfortunate it took this long for Strunk to be recognized for his heroics, but is glad he finally got them.

"There's an old saying that the great soldier is the one who runs the sounds of the gun and when they answered, President Roosevelt needed 3,000 soldiers to perform this mission, Delmar volunteered," Thune said.

Even though the medals are nearly 70 years late, Strunk knows he can wear them proudly knowing he protect America's freedom.

"I can walk down the street, I don't have to step off for no one, I can walk right down the middle and feel good," Strunk said.

Strunk is in the process of writing a book about his war experience.

If you'd like to read more about Merrill's Marauders and their heroic efforts, click here.

 

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