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ND veteran’s family honored with medals

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., presents World War II military ribbons Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, to Bertha Dewald, in honor of her late husband, Philip. John M. Steiner / Jamestown Sun

JAMESTOWN -- The family of a World War II veteran who passed away in 2008 received the medals he had earned in brief ceremony Monday in Jamestown.

Philip Dewald had received his honorable discharge papers from the U.S. Army in 1945, but his family — wife Bertha and sons Darrel and David — never saw any of the medals he earned during his three years, four months and 21 days of service.

“I never saw them at home. My mother never saw them either,” Darrel said of his father’s missing medals.

He’s not certain, but Darrel believes his father simply never received them, though it was clear Philip had been drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942 and spent two years deployed in the Aleutian Islands.

“He talked about the Aleutians a little bit — the weather, and being cold,” said David, adding that his father had served as a cook.

Born in Streeter, Philip grew up on the family farm, and when he returned from his service, he married Bertha in 1946 and returned to farming.

He died in August 2008.

During his years of service, Technician Fifth Grade Dewald earned the Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze star, the World War II Victory Medal and the Honorable Service World War II Lapel Button.

Darrel, who lives in Jamestown, decided in November 2012 to ask Warren Tobin, the Stutsman County Veterans Service officer, whether he could buy the medals. Instead, Tobin started the process of getting Philip’s family his medals at no cost to them.

And on Monday, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., presented those medals to Bertha Dewald, in a polished wooden case, which will likely go on her wall at her room.

Hoeven called presenting the medals “an incredible honor,” and said Philip Dewald was a “great American, a great patriot.”

“Thanks to everybody for all of this,” Darrel said.