WWII vet receives long-earned medals
One day short of 72 years after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, nearly 69 years after he was drafted and 67 years after he came home, World War II Veteran Anton Tuhy received three medals and a lapel pin from Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., on Friday in the Veterans Room at the Stark County Courthouse.
The 91-year-old veteran was joined by sons Clarence, Stark County sheriff, and Ray, who drove from Missoula, Mont., to spend the day with his father. His daughter, Darlene Billman, is a snowbird in Arizona and was not in attendance.
“We’re losing a lot of those World War II veterans,” Hoeven said. “When we get a chance to say ‘thank you’ and honor one of our World War II veterans, we want to do that.”
Anton was a 19-year-old working on the family farm in Manning on the “day that will live in infamy” and was drafted into the U.S. Army at the age of 22, three years later on Dec. 15, 1944.
“From my understanding, it was supposed to be a brother that got drafted, but the paperwork got switched,” Clarence said. “We’re extremely proud of what dad has accomplished over the years.”
He spent time at Fort Snelling, Minn., Fort Knox, Ky., and Fort Leavenworth, Kan., before being deployed to the Philippines. While in the Army, Anton worked as a cook, baker and medical aid. He was discharged at Fort Lewis, Wash.
“It was an honor to serve in the United States Army,” Tuhy told Hoeven.
The medals that Anton earned during the war and received Friday were the Good Conduct Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the World War II Honorable Service Lapel Pin.
Part of what Anton did in the Philippines was help clean up towns that were destroyed in battle.
Hoeven has been working to make sure veterans like Anton receive their medals before it’s too late.
“In particular, when we run across a case where we’ve got a World War II veteran who earned medals and was never presented those medals — if you can imagine such a thing — we want to do everything we can to get those medals and to present those medals to our wonderful — to our heroes.”
Anton’s parents, Joseph and Mary, had 12 children — six boys and six girls — who they raised on a farm in Manning. Anton married Julia Rambousek on Oct. 30, 1944, and the couple were married for nearly 70 years until Julia’s passing in 2012.
Anton still resides on the rural Dickinson farm he purchased in 1947 after returning to the U.S.
“I think it was an honor” to receive the medals, Anton said. “It was nice for (Hoeven) to come out.”
The medals will be displayed prominently in Anton’s home, either on top of the TV stand or near his wedding picture, Clarence said.