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WWII Vet receives medals 69 year later

Steven Dennis told a crowd gathered at the American Legion Post in Mechanicville Thursday his medals don't mean all that much to him but he wanted to have them for his grandchildren and their children.

Still, he appreciated the attention and praise fom those who came to see him receive medals that had never been issued to him. He told CBS6 News part of the reason he never got them is important paperwork had gone down with his ship, the USS Atlanta, during the Battle for Gualdalcanal in November, 1942.

Later, he says, he had help from Congressman Gerald Solomon, but it wasn't until four months ago when he spoke to County Supervisor Thomas Richardson of Mechanicville that the process started moving again. Thomas says he worked with the Saratoga County Veterans Administration to get the medals sent to Dennis. Richardson did not explain what caused the delay. "The important thing is that he has them," Richardson said.

Dennis' 92nd birthday is August 9. Among the recognition he received was the Presidential Unit Citation, for the service he and his comrades gave during the Guadalcanal campaign. The citation says, "Struck by on torpedo and no less than 49 shells, the ATLANTA, after sinking an enemy destroyer and repeatedly hitting a crusier which later went down, gallantly remained in balltel under auxiliary power with one-third of its crew killed or missing, her engine room flooded and her topside a shambles." The overall Naval battle was a success, driving away Japanese forces.