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Palo Alto World War II Hero To Receive Medals Promised But Never Received After Battlefield Injuries

by Carlos E. Castañeda
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Purple Hears are displayed before a Purple Heart ceremony at Walter Reed Army Medical Center April 6, 2007 in Washington, DC. Six soldiers were awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in combat serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Purple Hears are displayed before a Purple Heart ceremony at Walter Reed Army Medical Center April 6, 2007 in Washington, DC.(Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

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MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) — A 90-year-old Palo Alto army veteran will be formally recognized Wednesday evening for his bravery and service in World War II with the medals he was promised by the military, but never received.

John Indergand was recuperating in early 1945 from injuries sustained in the Battle of the Bulge when he and 19 others were each given a piece of paper promising a Purple Heart medal and a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for their actions.

The Purple Heart is awarded to servicemen killed or wounded in action, while the Oak Leaf cluster is attached to medals or ribbons to denote subsequent decorations of the same award. Indergand had been previously injured in battle and awarded a Purple Heart in 1944.

But as the years and decades went by, Indergand never received his awards. Last November, Indergand contacted Rep. Anna Eshoo’s office at her suggestion to seek help. That was days after the Silicon Valley congresswoman overheard him telling someone he never received his combat medals, according to the Palo Alto Weekly.

Rep. Eshoo and her staff were able to follow up with the Department of Defense which confirmed Indergand was entitled to his awards and in addition entitled to a Bronze Star Medal for acts of heroism and a Combat Infantryman Badge for fighting in active ground combat.

Wednesday evening, Rep. Eshoo was scheduled to formally present Indergand with his medals at a reception at Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View.

“I’m very pleased now,” Indergand told the Palo Alto Weekly. “I’m happy to remember the good side of military service. There is an accomplishment to it, if the original purposes are followed through on.”

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