About 50 people crammed inside Dave’s Barbershop in Old Town Elk Grove on Nov. 10, to watch U.S. Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, hold a ceremony to honor World War II and Korean War veteran Glen Stout.
Bera pinned three medals and two buttons on Stout’s suit jacket.
This event was a long time coming for the 89-year-old Stout, who had completed his military service without receiving any of the medals and buttons that he earned.
Bera noted that after recently learning about Stout’s story, he worked with U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, to obtain the medals and buttons.
“Making sure Glen gets his medals was a team effort,” he said. “One thing we often will do is when we hear from veterans, we’ll reach out to the Department of Defense and try to recover those medals for them or get them if they were never awarded.”
Among the medals Bera pinned on Stout’s jacket was the World War II Victory Medal.
The medal is awarded to those who served in the U.S. military between Dec. 7, 1941, following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entrance into World War II, and Dec. 31, 1946, when President Harry S. Truman proclaimed the cessation of hostilities.
Stout, who was born in Oklahoma and grew up in southern California, enlisted in the Navy in September 1946 and became a reservist in 1949. He was reactivated during the following year for the Korean War.
Stout was attached to a squadron that did transport runs from Honolulu to the Midway Islands and Samoa.
After leaving the Navy as an aviation electronics technician, first class, Stout earned a pilot’s license and worked for the Hughes Aircraft Co. in the Los Angeles area for 40 years.
Also awarded to Stout during the recent ceremony were the Navy Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Honorable Service Lapel Button and the U.S. Navy Honorable Discharge Button.
Stout, who has lived in Elk Grove since 1993, said that his connection to World War II extends beyond him.
“My brother (Wayne) was in the Navy from 1942 to 1945,” he said. “He was in the South Pacific. He was mainly a maintenance guy for a PT boat squadron.”
Dave Keen, owner of Dave’s Barbershop, said that Stout has impressed him for many years.
“I’ve known Glen for about 20 years,” he said. “He’s very quiet, (with an) unassuming type of personality, but very strong, very stable, very centered, very focused. He’s just a great gentleman. And he would be the first to tell you that he’s not a hero. He’s very shy about that. He has served in World War II and he’s honored that he did do that. And I’m sure that he’s happy today that he’s being rewarded for (his service).”
Stout, who has seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, commented on the ceremony.
“I didn’t expect all this,” he said. “It seems like too much to go through.”
The event attracted various military veterans, including Navy veteran and Citizen columnist David Simpson, who said that veterans should be continuously honored.
“It’s something that you do forever as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “Veterans don’t always get the amount of publicity and hoorah, except on Veterans Day.”
Guy Lopes, a Navy veteran and a 44-year resident of Elk Grove, said he attended Stout’s ceremony because he is always drawn to World War II veterans.
“My father was in the Navy during World War II in the Pacific theater,” he said. “When I see a World War II vet now, it touches my heart. When I do, I reach in my flight bag – I’m a civilian airline pilot now – and I pull out a challenge coin that has all five services represented, and I thank them for their service, because they’re American heroes.”
Lopes added that he understands the urgency to recognize World War II veterans.
“We need to recognize World War II vets while we still can,” he said. “We’re losing hundreds a day.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reported that only 558,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are alive today.
Bera also commented on the importance of honoring World War II veterans.
“As we start to lose more and more of our World War II veterans, it’s incredibly important for us to recognize that generation that stepped up and saved the world and created this postwar world where America’s leadership really has been valued throughout the world,” he said. “We’re incredibly grateful to the World War II veterans, and it’s important for us to take every opportunity to say thank you to them.”