Family of veteran killed in WWII receives long overdue medals

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Eight military service medals were given Thursday to the family of a Filipino-American who was killed in action in the Philippines during World War II.

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SAN DIEGO – Eight military service medals were given Thursday to the family of a Filipino-American who was killed in action in the Philippines during World War II.

Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) awarded the medals to the family of U.S. Army Private Juan Sablan.

Many members of the Sablan family were present to receive the medals, including Simon Sablan of Mira Mesa and Mamerto Sablan of Chula Vista, who received the Gold Star Lapel Pin. Simon Sablan contacted Rep. Peters’ office because the only medal that his family had from the fallen soldier’s service was the Purple Heart.

Rep. Peters’ staff worked with the National Personnel Records Center and the Department of the Army to determine that Private Sablan was entitled to 8 medals, and his family was entitled to a Gold Star Lapel Pin, which is awarded to the primary next of kin of servicemembers killed in combat against an enemy of the United States.

The medals awarded Thursday were the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the American Defense Service Medal with a Foreign Service Clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one Bronze Service Star, the World War II Victory Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Philippine Defense Ribbon with one Bronze Service Star.

“We are forever indebted to heroes like Private Sablan and his family for the sacrifices they made to protect our country and ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the freedoms that make America so great,” Rep. Peters said. “Simon and Mamerto’s dedication to getting their brother the recognition he deserves is a testament to San Diego’s strong Filipino-American community and the indispensable role that Filipino-Americans play in San Diego’s veterans’ community.”

Peters said his office is available to help any San Diego servicemembers, veterans or their families who are struggling to get the care or recognition they have earned through their service.

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