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Mystery of WWII veteran’s medals solved

Tue., Nov. 15, 2011, midnight

SALT LAKE CITY – When a World War II veteran in Salt Lake City received a package of seven medals earlier this month, he and his family couldn’t figure out why they had been delivered 66 years after his discharge.

It turns out that Tom Harrison actually submitted the request himself more than seven months ago as part of a larger application for military records. The 93-year-old veteran doesn’t remember making the request – so he was surprised when the medals showed up Nov. 4 without any note of explanation.

“It’s not a mystery,” said Niels Zussblatt, a management analyst with the National Personnel Records Center, after a story by the Associated Press over the Veteran’s Day weekend drew attention to Harrison’s case.

But it is understandable that Harrison may not recall his request for the medals, Zussblatt said, when “months later they just show up in a box.”

The center, which is based in St. Louis, handles military records requests for the National Archives and Records Administration.

There are no records of Harrison receiving the medals previously, Zussblatt said, which is also not unusual for World War II veterans.

“At the end of the war, everybody moved on with their lives,” Zussblatt said.

The seven medals were delivered to Harrison with only a packing slip from an Army logistics center in Philadelphia enclosed.


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