AZUSA, Calif. (KABC) -- Two local veterans have been honored for their service in the Korean War and World War II. Both of them were incredibly happy to be recognized. And for one of them, it was years in the making - after his military records were destroyed.
"I'm 96 years old and I was drafted during World War II, but they didn't take me because I was too small at that time," said Greg Chavez.
The U.S. Army veteran did fight in the Korean War, serving in the 7th Division from 1950 to 1952. But in 1973, his service records were destroyed in a fire at the National Personnel Record Center.
"The records were burnt so I had to redo all the paperwork again," said Chavez.
Now, more than 70 years later, Chavez finally got the recognition he deserves thanks to Congresswoman Grace Napolitano and a unit historian. They verified his service. Representatives Napolitano and Judy Chu presented him a number of medals and badges that had always been his.
"It's important for people to recognize that these people have given of their time to serve the country and they deserve something in return," said Napolitano.
Army Air Force veteran Kenneth Anhalt also received honors. He is 100 years old and started serving in 1943. Anhalt recalls the hardships of World War II, from watching planes go down, to nearly jumping out with a faulty parachute. He was bruised while wearing a protective suit.
"It felt like somebody took a baseball bat and swung it as hard as they could on my back," said Anhalt.
Both veterans were incredibly grateful for the recognition.
"I'm a veteran and I don't forget that I've had the honor of serving this country," said Chavez.