WWII Merchant Marine Veteran Receives US Flag in Recognition of Service

Special U.S. flag gift honors WWII Merchant Marine veteran from New York for his service.

In Utica, New York, a World War II veteran proudly received an incredible item in recognition for his service to this country. To this day, he is still very proud of his years of service and now for the U.S. flag that flew over the state capital that now belongs to him.

On Tuesday September, 25th Harrison (Harry) Charles Preston of New York Mills was honored in a special ceremony. Along with the flag, he also received a certificate authenticating the flag. Preston, 84, who served five years as a Merchant Marine said, “I never had anything like this happen to me before. This (the flag) will be at the New Hartford Legion on display and I plan to leave it with them so it will always be there.”

Preston, Merchant Marine

As a Merchant Marine, Preston provided support services such as transporting fuel and supplies during WWII. Up until the late 1980’s Merchant Marines were not even recognized as veterans. US Rep. Richard Hanna, who presented the flag to Harry, commented on this with, “In the Merchant Marines, one out of every 26 people were killed. They were unarmed; they were civilians.”

Carl Gus of Sauquoit, a former member of the Navy, took charge of the effort to get his friend truly recognized for this service. Once Gus realized Preston was never formerly honored for his service, he immediately pushed to find out if he was still entitled to receiving any medals.

Shortly after, the Merchant Marine Academy called Gus back with good news. Preston was entitled to five medals, of which he was presented with two years ago on Memorial Day.

Credit: Utica Observer-Dispatch

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