Two Akron-area servicemen will receive medals tonight for honors earned long ago.
Willard E. Caynor, 81, of Norton, who died in 2000, will be remembered for his service in the Army’s 6th Armored Division.
His daughter, Regina Caynor, will accept nine medals on her father’s behalf for his bravery in the Pacific during World War II.
Thomas “Tom” W. Knepp, 66, who served in Vietnam for nine months from 1967 to May 1968 when he was wounded twice, will be awarded four new medals including the Air Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office worked with the families to research the veterans’ service records and ensure the medals earned are awarded.
“Mr. Knepp and Mr. Caynor each served their country proudly and courageously,” Brown said in a statement. “They answered the call to duty in order to help spread democracy and peace. That is why they earned these medals and deserve recognition for their honor and selflessness. It is because of veterans like them that we are able to enjoy the liberties we have today.”
Caynor, a gunner on an 18-ton amphibious tank, served in the Philippines. After the war, he worked at Lectromelt as a welder and lived in Norton until his death.
“I am really proud of him,” his daughter said.
Craynor, who had six children, will receive the Bronze Star and eight other medals.
Knepp suffered shrapnel wounds to the chest, stomach and legs. He spent three months in the hospital.
A 1965 Cuyahoga Falls High School graduate, Knepp was drafted into the Army in August 1966.
While in Vietnam, he served in the Central Highlands and along the South China Sea.
He is a retired Goodyear laboratory technician and president of Chapter 717 of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
He will receive his medals at Chapter 717’s monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at the Ellet Community Center at 2449 Wedgewood Drive in Akron.
He received the Purple Heart he was awarded during his time in combat with the help of then U.S. Rep. John Seiberling in 1982, he said. But the bulk of his medals were not on his official Army discharge papers.
Knepp said he has been thinking about his time in Vietnam a lot.
“I feel good about it,” he said of finally getting the medals.
Ohio veterans and the family members of deceased veterans may request military records and medals by contacting Brown’s Cleveland office at 216-522-7272 or by visiting the “Constituent Services” section of Brown’s website at www.brown. senate.gov or by contacting Sen. Rob Portman at 216-522-7095 or by visiting www.portman.senate.gov or contacting any member of Congress.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or firstname.lastname@example.org.