VIENNA - More than 60 years after his discharge, Calden Eugene Stump finally got the medals due him after his service in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Stump, 86, of Parkersburg, said his medals might have been lost among all the paperwork from the massive number of discharges after the war ended.
"They were discharging people by the thousands, the ship I was on carried 2,500 troops back from the Pacific and we went back for a second group," he said.
Gen. Melvin Burch, adjunct general of the West Virginia National Guard, left, adjusts a medal he pinned on Calden Eugene Stump at a ceremony Saturday at VFW Post 8127 in Vienna. (Photo by Jeffrey Saulton)
Stump said the other reason was he and his parents moved from Parkersburg.
"I gave them a Parkersburg address but I did not give an address for when we moved to Calhoun County," he said. "That's probably why I didn't get them."
Stump graduated from high school in Calhoun County in 1942 when he was 16 and he was drafted in 1944. His parents move to Wood County and then after WWII moved back to Calhoun, His father was a contractor in the oil business.
"I worked for him for a while, doing the jobs nobody else wanted to do," he said. "I told my Dad it was not for me and he said I should look for work in Parkersburg."
Stump returned and went to work at Libby-Owens-Ford, which later became Johns Manville.
Stump said he was overwhelmed by the experience Saturday as he received the medals.
"I'm really overwhelmed by what my family and friends have done for me this evening," he said, "I'm very appreciative and I will remember it for the rest of my life.
During a ceremony Saturday at VFW Post 8127 in Vienna, his daughter, Cherie Stump Lane, said the medals were obtained through the efforts of a sister and a cousin.
"Two years ago my older sister Ellen, and a cousin, Bess Stump, set out on a mission to obtain these medals for my father," he said. "It took two years of paperwork and phone calls and relentless dedication and he finally received the medals."
Lane said he joined the U.S. Navy on March 21, 1944, and was honorably discharged on June 6, 1946, at Bainbridge, Md. During his service he went to boot camp in Illinois and radio school. In Fostoria, Ore., he was stationed on the USS Kingsbury in 1944, the only ship he served on until it was decommissioned in June 1946 in Newport News, Va.
"While on the USS Kingsbury, Dad went to Iwo Jima, then to Seattle, Wash., and then back to Iwo Jima," Lane said. "After that he went on maneuvers for the invasion of Japan and after the war ended, the ship picked up the 5th Marine Division and then to the Philippines to pick up the 32nd Army Division and than back to Japan," she said. "He was on the 'Magic Carpet' duty, where they took the troops from the Pacific back to the U.S."
Stump also received letters of commendation from the City of Vienna, U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
During Saturday's program, Stump was presented with his medals by Gen. Melvin Burch, adjunct general of the West Virginia National Guard. Burch said Stump received the Combat Action Ribbon, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Medal with a star, World War II Victory Medal and the Navy World War II Occupation with an Asian device on it.
Burch also presented Stump with a lapel pin to indicate service and a pin for honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy, along with a challenge coin. Burch said the medals were presented in order of importance.
"It is an honor for me to be here to honor one of the greatest generation," he said. "That's been said many times that the soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen and coast guardsmen that fought in the war is really the greatest generation.
"I can tell you from experience with veterans from Word War II this is a generation we have to treasure, get to know them and thank them, they were the ones that made what we enjoy in this country today possible," Burch said.