- Associated Press - Thursday, May 29, 2014

SCOTLAND, S.D. (AP) - A World War II veteran in the South Dakota town of Scotland has been recognized for valor in combat, nearly 70 years after his service.

Delmar Strunk, 92, was awarded several medals on Wednesday, including the Bronze Star, one of the military’s highest honors. Several military and political dignitaries were on hand for the ceremony at Scotland City Hall.

Strunk served in the war from October 1943 to April 1945. His service included a four-month mission behind enemy lines in the Burmese jungle to attack Japanese bases and supply routes. Only about 200 of the 3,000 members of the unit known as Merrill’s Marauders survived.

“There’s a reason a guy can make it through,” Strunk said. “I always thought of my God. I never quit believing in my God. That’s what everybody should do.”

After the war, Strunk’s personnel records were lost, and he never received the medals that he was due. Military historian and author Jon Hittle later discovered Strunk’s involvement in the war and enlisted U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., to help secure the medals for Strunk.