East Texan receives medals, discharge more than half-century after WWII

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - One Lufkin veteran is receiving long-overdue honors, more than 60 years after serving in World War II. Wednesday, Henry Samuel Thomas was awarded his war medals and discharge papers.

In the 1940s Thomas enlisted in the Navy and saw combat in the South Pacific, alongside his brother. After serving four years in the construction battalion, Thomas never received his discharge.

Decades later, Thomas is finally receiving his military awards and discharge paperwork. Thomas received medals for honorable service, discharge of service, World War II Victory, and two others.

"I didn't realize that [the recognition] was going to happen, and of course I didn't know anything about it, said Thomas. "It's the most rewarding thing that has ever happened in my life."

Congressman Louie Gohmert presented Thomas with the awards, along with an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol.

"It's wonderful that he's being honored this way," said Mitchell LeMoine, Thomas' nephew.

Thomas says 2012 is looking like a good year. The veteran also turns 100 in September.

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