Medals for father who served in Navy in both World Wars
ROCHESTER — For Wyandotte Falls resident Doris Walker, 62, the two World Wars are more than mere history in her family, they are part of a tradition of dedication and service in her family.
On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., presented Walker with medals and honors her father, U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Frank E. Johnson, earned during World War I and World War II.
Johnson, who died of brain cancer in 1969, enlisted in the Navy in Portsmouth in August of 1919 – only a few months before the end of World War I - and served until September of 1946, when he retired as a Chief Boatswain's Mate.
"I'm so proud of my dad and come from a Navy family," Walker said as she recounted the stories she remembered while looking at her father's photos at sea.
"I have the best one (photo) hanging over my wall so he's watching over me," Walker said
Walker recalled being captivated by the stories from her grandfather, uncle and father – all of who served during World War II.
"He was about 18 when he came in (the Navy)," Walker said. "He couldn't get in when he was 17 because he was too young."
Walker received the following awards for her father: victory medals for World War I and II, the Combat Action Ribbon, the American Defense Service Medal, the Navy Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the Honorable Service Lapel Pin, and a Discharge Button – known as the ruptured duck - to show his honorable discharge status.
"I've been working on this for 10 years," Walker said, adding she contact Shea-Porter's office in September.
Shea-Porter said presenting medals is one of the best parts of her job.
"It's not the first time we've done this, but it's always emotional," Shea-Porter said, adding the medals are a narrative of the story of "how they saved the world."
Shea-Porter said this country remains grateful to Johnson and all others who have or continue to serve in the military.
"He represented us and this country in a way we all can be proud," Shea-Porter said, adding Johnson served on 11 different ships during his 27-year tenure in the Navy.
"Looking at the number of ships he served on, it's pretty remarkable," Shea-Porter said. "He was right where the action was."
"We've never had a World War I medal – that's really special," Shea-Porter said, adding the collection of medals means "he answered the call not just once, but twice."
Walker said her father would have served in another war if he could.