World War II Army veteran, 93, receives his Bronze Star

Wimer resident Arlin Stafford was awarded a Bronze Star Medal on Thursday afternoon, nearly 70 years after the fact.

Stafford, 93, is a World War II veteran who served in the Pacific Theater, fighting such places as Saipan and Okinawa. The former sergeant in the Army's 27th Infantry Division was wounded by shrapnel in Saipan, and received a Purple Heart during the war.

The Bronze Star was awarded as part of an Army program to veterans who earned the medal for combat during the war but never received it, explained John Howard, director of constituent services for 2nd Congressional District Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River.

A retired Navy commander, Howard presented the medal to Stafford, who is now in a wheelchair, during a short ceremony in Palmerton Park in the city of Rogue River.

"I've known all these years he deserved more than what he got," said Katherine Stafford, his wife of 66 years. "He fought in a very tough area. But records got lost when they were fighting in the South Pacific."

The Stafford family worked with Walden's Medford office staff to obtain the medal.

"I didn't tell him until yesterday that he was going to get it," she said. "He was very excited about it."

Arlin Stafford is a retired construction worker who helped build the Applegate Dam on the Applegate River and the Lost Creek Dam on the upper Rogue River. The couple have lived in the area since 1963.

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