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WHSV: Congressman Goodlatte Honors Local WWII Veteran

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Published on May 3, 2012

Nearly 70 years after World War II, a Valley man who served his country bravely is being recognized.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte presented 89-year old Harry McCray with nearly two dozen service medals he earned during World War II in his Staunton office on Wednesday.

McCray's daughter, Julie Turner, says the medals were lost and she wanted to find a way to recover them to give back to her dad as a gift for Father's Day.

After going to the National Personnel Records Center website, she found out how.

"Our Veterans are forgotten and if it wasn't for them, many of us wouldn't be here," said Turner.

McCray says he remembers the first day he was at war with the Japanese back in 1944.

"All that day was spent trying to clean out the ones that had gotten into a service troop. During nightfall, we were beside the road, and they jumped paratroopers on us on the land we just cleared off," said McCray.

McCray recalls another vivid image of something that spared his life.

"I remember an incident where a sergeant named Mansfield led a patrol. I asked if I should go along, but was told no. The squad was hit, and the sergeant was killed," said McCray.

During his time at war, McCray received nearly two dozen awards, which include: Bronze Star Medal; Good Conduct Medal; Presidential Unit Citiation; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze service stars; World War II Victory Medal; Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award; Expert Infantryman Badge; Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two bronze service stars; Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII; and Parachutist Badge.

"I am proud to have done my part and to have been part of the greatest generation," said McCray.

If you know a veteran who is trying to recover lost medals, please contact Congressman Goodlatte's office at 540-857-2672 or at http://goodlatte.house.gov

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