- Associated Press - Saturday, February 6, 2016

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - An 89-year-old Navy veteran who served during World War II finally has received his medal, 70 years after his service to the country.

U.S. Sen. John Thune pinned the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal on Morris Hallock during a luncheon Friday at the Holiday Hills Estates independent senior living facility, the Rapid City Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1PGPLvc ).

Hallock served as a Navy signalman from 1943 to 1946. After joining the Navy at the age of 17, he served on a ship in the South Pacific, serving in Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Guadalcanal.

“We were shooting down a plane a day there,” Hallock said. “It wasn’t much different from what I expected: It was a nasty deal. But this is a wild world. A strong military is a must.”

Hallock also earned the World War II Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal for his service.

“Probably the most fun part of my job is to recognize an American hero like Morris,” Thune said. “I’m blessed to be in his company.”

Hallock said he was always proud of his World War II service, but the medals he earned were slow in coming. He said most people said they wouldn’t want them, but he applied.

Hallock married his sweetheart, Miriam, after returning from the war. He became founder, owner and publisher of many newspapers, including the Sturgis Tribune, the Tri-State Livestock News and the Rapid City Guide. He also served as the secretary of finance for South Dakota and the state highway director, and he had a successful career in real estate.

He said his time overseas made the challenges he faced at home less daunting.

“It’s a feeling in your heart like no other kind,” Hallock said.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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