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SAN DIEGO – A local World War II veteran and decorated Marine commander was honored for his service Saturday in a gathering at the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

During his 32-year military career, retired Marine Col. Dave Severance commanded the E Company 28th Marines, who famously raised the U.S. flag atop Mt. Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Severance was awarded the Silver Star for his role during that battle.

He also served in the Korean War, where, as a Naval Aviator, he flew 69 combat missions, for which he was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross, his Mt. Soledad veterans biography shows.

“This is a a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to recognize him and that generation,” Brigadier General Ryan Heritage said. “At the same time, we brought out Marines who just graduated from the recruit depot, so they, in fact, have an opportunity to see a living legend. He will have the opportunity to pass on his legacy — the legacy of the Corps — to the next generation.”

Severance, 101, retired in May 1968, according to the National World War II Museum. He now resides in La Jolla.