World War II Veteran Receives Medals

A veteran was awarded several medals during World War II, but a drinking problem and a Bad Conduct Discharge prevented him from getting the medals. Now, after decades of sobriety, Loren Jutkins has received his medals.

Updated 10:32 AM PDT, Fri, Nov 11, 2011

Loren Jutkins' story reads like ten thousand others from men of his generation.

A San Bernardino farm boy, thrust into World War Two at nineteen, naive as he could possibly be.

"When I went in the navy all of a sudden I had friends my own age," recalls Jutkins.

But those friends, he says now, showed him things he probably shouldn't have seen.

World War II Veteran Receives Medals

World War II Veteran Receives Medals
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World War II Veteran Receives Medals

"They took me ashore on liberty and they got me drunk," says Jutkins. "I'd never had a drink in my life."

It wasn't long before the naive California farm boy developed a life-long dependence on alcohol.

He never drank on duty though, he says, and served with distinction during the occupation of Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Philippines liberation.

Military records show Jutkins was awarded the Bronze Star and a Philippines Liberation ribbon.

Problem was, it never happened.

"They said I had a 'bad conduct' discharge," according to Jutkins, "and my conduct was bad."

Going temporarily AWOL, and ultimately getting court-martialed for a series of alcohol-related mishaps, doesn't get you any medals, as it turns out.

So, Jutkins just settled into civilian life, with no regrets. He sobered up for good 48 years ago.

He made a lot of good friends along the way, and they're the ones who petitioned for Jutkins' 'bad conduct' discharge to finally be ex-punged from his record.

Finally, on Thursday morning, in the office of Congressman Henry Waxman, Jutkins received his medals.

"It means it all was worthwhile."

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First Published: Nov 10, 2011 6:00 PM PDT

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