The family of a U.S. soldier killed in World War II received eight long overdue medals from Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) Wednesday.
Army Private Juan Sablan was killed in action in the Philippines during the war.
His family had previously received a Purple Heart for Sablan’s service, but after seeing a story of Peters’ office giving overdue medals to another San Diego veteran in December, Sablan’s bothers Simon Sablan of Mira Mesa and Mamerto Sablan of Chula Vista, contacted the congressman about their brother.
The National Personnel Records Center and the Department of the Army collaborated with Peters’ office and determined Sablan was entitled to eight medals and his family had earned the Gold Star lapel pin, which is awarded to the primary next of kin of service members killed in combat against an enemy of the United States.
“No one has given more in service to our country than the families of our fallen service members,” Rep. Peters said. “We are forever indebted to heroes like Private Sablan and his family for the sacrifices they made to protect our country and ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the freedoms that make America so great. Simon and Mamerto’s dedication to getting their brother the recognition he deserves is a testament to San Diego’s strong Filipino-American community and the indispensable role that Filipino-Americans play in San Diego’s veterans’ community.”
The medals awarded were the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the American Defense Service Medal with a Foreign Service Clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one Bronze Service Star, the World War II Victory Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters and the Philippine Defense Ribbon with one Bronze Service Star.
Private Sablan is also entitled to the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation, which was not presented because it is a foreign award and therefore not issued by the U.S. Army.
Peters concluded, “My office is available to help any San Diego service members, veterans and their families who are struggling to get the care or recognition they have earned through their service.”