Q: Referring to an Aug. 12 obituary published in the Roundup listing someone as a WWII veteran: I have a WWII vet in my household. He is almost 78 years old. He received his draft notice slightly before his high school diploma in June of 1944. Now if he was born in 1925 and was 18 and 19 during his service, how could someone at age 74 ever have served in WWII? This bothers him somewhat because he notices this discrepancy often in obituaries. I tell him it's probably because WWII was a just and unavoidable war, and those who served in that time were highly regarded. A lot of somewhat younger guys are wannabes.
A: According to Sherman Alston, past commander of the Tonto Rim American Legion Post 69 in Payson, and current member of the Legion's executive committee, the years of eligibility to be recognized as a WWII veteran member of the Legion are between Dec. 7, 1941 to Dec. 31, 1946. Alston said this might be confusing because the Japanese signed the document of surrender Sept. 2, 1945.
"Even though the war ended in 1945, soldiers still had to go in to rebuild Japan and occupy war-torn areas of Europe," Sherman said. "The Legion's veteran status dates are based on Department of Defense guidelines. So these men and women are still recognized as WWII veterans. The work of the war didn't end in 1945."
Dates of qualifying service may vary between veterans organizations.
The Roundup was able to confirm the Federal qualification dates with information provided by Payson resident Bill Sahno, Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret).
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sets the official dates for wartime service based on Federal law. The VA officially recognizes WWII veterans as soldiers who served between Dec. 7, 1941, and Dec. 31, 1946. You can see the most current information and other qualifying dates on the VA home page at www.va.gov.
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