LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Dozens of folks braved rainy weather Friday in the Kern River Valley to be a part of a medal ceremony for two local World War II veterans.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, presented 97-year-old Ed Matako and 92-year-old Harold Reed with several service medals the military failed to provide decades ago.
Reed was a mechanic in Army Air Corps, stationed in England. He and his twin brother were both drafted and sent to Europe in 1942. Reed says he’ll never forget the size of the aerial assault on D-Day. The planes, he said, blotted out the sun in England as they passed overhead.
As for the medals, he’s got something special in mind for them.
“I want my grandkids to have them,” he said, fighting tears.
Matako enlisted in the Navy in the late 1930s, ultimately serving for two decades. He spent much of World War II at Pearl Harbor and narrowly missed being aboard the U.S.S. Arizona during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.
But Matako was all smiles talking about his service, joking, “It took me nine months to get in the Navy and 20 years to get out.”
If you or a loved one is missing service medals or never received medals earned for service during a war, contact your congressman.