Acknowledging heroic service

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Editorial: May 8, 2013

TOPIC: Mission accomplished
OUR VIEW: Service medals a victory for perseverance

For the family of the late Jesus Arriola Leon Guerrero, a native of Guam who served 20 years in the U.S. Navy from 1937 to 1957, it was a mission and a passion created long, long ago.

A quest to right a wrong and recognize a husband, father and grandfather was years in the making. Through the expected and unexpected hurdles of trying to gain Guerrero the accolades he rightfully earned, a mission was accomplished.

The effort of the family to trace his military history offered insight into recognition Guerrero didn’t receive, while others did aboard several ships that fought during World War II. Among his many assignments, he served aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma, which sank at Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and the U.S.S. Honolulu, which participated in the bombardment of Kiska in the Aleutian Islands.

On a Monday morning in April, appropriately under clear skies to illustrate the breakthrough that had been achieved, the family of Guerrero, who died in 1991, received recognition for his many accomplishments.

A memorial service was held at the Hardin County Veterans Tribute at the Elizabethtown Nature Park off Ring Road. It was a fitting and well-deserved event to honor Guerrero and his family, who now can breathe the sigh of a job well done for years of efforts to get proper acknowledgement.

Everything felt right and just about the event and the honoring of a man who served his country, and the family that stood by his side and fought for him.

The medals set the record straight and eases some of the angst of the family over the years.

Guerrero was posthumously awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon with Bronze Star, Navy Good Conduct Medal with Silver Star, World War II Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal with two Silver Stars and four Bronze Stars, Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia Clasp, China Service Medal, China Service Ribbon, National Defense Medal, Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, United Nations Service Medal, Korean War Service Medal and Honorable Discharge Lapel Pin (Ruptured Duck).

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie deserves praise for once again showing a passion to help those who have a deserving cause. This is not the first time Guthrie has stepped forward and did his behind the scenes work to make a military man get what he or she deserves.

The honor brings a sense of closure for Guerrero’s family and offers them a memory they can embrace; one they could have only hoped for during their mission..

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.