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WWII veteran honored by his family

The American flag. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol)

The family of World War II veteran Walter Worth Younce Sr. filled the event room at Mayflower Seafood with applause as Younce was presented with a medal shadow box.

His service

Janet Barnett, one of Younce’s four children, said that — while she knew her father was enlisted during WWII in the U.S. Navy — her father was tight-lipped about his time in service for the majority of her life.

It wasn’t until Younce was about 88 years old when he started to open up about his time in service — and he is currently 98 years old. Two of Younce’s great-grandchildren interviewed him for essays while they were in college, painting a fuller picture of Younce’s service.

He was in service from 1942-46 and was only 17 years old when he entered. When he left, he was a Seaman First Class, and he had participated in five battles in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater. He went to Australia, The Philippines, Japan, Guadalcanal and others.

Younce spent the majority, if not all, of his time in service on the water, his son Allen Younce said.

“I don’t know if I could have done that,” Allen Younce said with a chuckle.

His sons, Allen and Sonny Younce, have a theory about why their father didn’t share stories of his time in service.

“He hardly said anything while we were growing up,” Sonny Younce said. “A few of his buddies were killed. His best friend was killed beside him.”

Barnett agreed with the theory.

“That is probably why he didn’t talk about it for years,” she said. “That devastated him.”

When Younce was asked about his silence, he pondered for a moment.

“It was pretty hard to tell,” he said quietly. “It was a lot to go through.”

His box

The idea of a shadow box came to Sonny Younce after his own son, Timothy Younce, had gifted him a shadow box with mementos and medals of his own service — Sonny Younce had served in the U.S. Army.

Younce had seen the box and thought it was pretty neat. Sonny Younce took notice. He entrusted the tax of the shadow box to his son, Timothy Younce.

Since Timothy Younce had already worked on one box, so he had a feel for the process. But it was a little harder to track down information about his grandfather’s service.

“It was a bit of a challenge,” Timothy Younce said.

He hired a company to find Younce’s separation papers for release from service. The company had to go to another state to find his file in archives.

Finding the vessels Younce had been on was also hard. For example, there were several vessels named Montpelier, but his was USS Montpelier (CL-57) nicknamed “Mighty Monty.” He was also on USS Perkins DD-877.

Timothy Younce also had to look up what medals went with his grandfather for the shadow box.

— World War II Victory Medal

— American Campaign Medal

— Good Conduct Medal

— Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal

Timothy Younce also worked with someone to have the shadow box hand-made.

When Younce was presented with the box in front of his family, his smile was wide and nodded his head as he said, “It’s nice.”

His family

After Younce was presented with the box, he and his family began eating their meal. A few grandchildren and great-grandchildren began retelling the stories Younce had told them about his time in service saying, “He told me that —” and “I remember he said —” and began swapping Younce’s stories.

For his daughter, Barnett, she was happy her family finally knew what her father had done. She also said she and her siblings thanked their father for his service.

“We told him how much we appreciate him,” she said. “We said it was a blessing for people to know.”


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