Local WWII vet receives service medals

MECHANICVILLE, N.Y. – A ceremony was held Thursday night for a local World War II veteran to finally receive his service medals.

It took a lot of work by some volunteers, but it turned out to be well worth the wait.

Stephen Dennis already had enough memories to fill his long life. He joined the service a week after Pearl Harbor and would take part in the landmark battles of the Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal and Okinawa.

“I lived through my ship being sunk,” he said.

Even when he wasn’t in battle, he was witnessing history.

“I was in PT boats for two years with President Kennedy,” he recalled.

He also had a desk next to future Supreme Court Justice Byron “Whizzer” White. He also sent back all the reports for “all the people in the world by teletype” when Japan surrendered, and the war was finally over.

Dennis said he never worried about not receiving his service medals.

“Here’s the thing, the medals didn’t put no money in my pockets,” he said.

But others stepped in to make sure he got his decorations, including a presidential citation.

“Sometimes the medals have been discontinued for World War II, and you can’t get them,” Senator Kathy Marchione said. “But in this case, they were able to be gotten.”

Dennis said he will give the awards to his granddaughter.

Frank McClement, the veterans’ service officer in Saratoga County, was integral in having the medals presented to Dennis.


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