Miami man presented father’s never-received WWII medals

miamiNearly 70 years after the end of World War II, a Miami, Ariz., man received his late father’s wartime medals Wednesday. The staff of U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., was honored to assist in this effort and present the son of Fidel Rocha with two WWII medals for Rocha’s service in the U.S. Army.

Private 1st Class Rocha, who died in 1993, earned the medals as a rifleman in the Asiatic Pacific Theater of Operations – but he was never awarded them. His records were destroyed in a 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.

Kirkpatrick’s veterans outreach staffer, Palmer Miller, contacted the center to request assistance in verifying and awarding the two medals, based on alternative records sources.

Miller presented the medals to Rocha’s son, Ron, in Globe on Wednesday. Also in attendance: Gila County Supervisors Michael Pastor and John Marcanti, and Gila County Manager Don McDaniels.

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