Pomona family receives World War II veteran’s medals 60 years after his death – San Bernardino Sun

A World War II veteran who died 60 years ago finally got his due recognition this week, including a slew of medals and ribbons never awarded to him.

At a ceremony Monday, August 15, U.S. Rep. Norma Torres presented the Pomona family of Lt. Adriano Barcelona Cartagena was presented with eight medals and ribbons, including the Bronze Star and Prisoner of War Medal.

About 20 family members gathered for the posthumous awards ceremony at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12 in La Verne.

Cartagena, who died in 1962, served in the Philippine Army under the direction of Gen. Douglas MacArthur during World War II in the South Pacific.

Despite early defeats by the Japanese Imperial Army in WWII, Cartagena continued to fight with the Philippine Army. He was eventually captured and spent time as a prisoner of war. He later escaped and continued to fight as a guerrilla, according to a news release.

Only recently was Torres’s office able to obtain Cartagena’s service records and the medals and ribbons owed to him. When the late veteran’s son, Claro, contacted the Veterans Affairs Office to find out the middle names of his paternal grandparents, he learned about the missing honors.

“Lieutenant Cartagena served our nation proudly and with honor,” Torres said in the news release. “Unfortunately, he was not able to receive all that he was owed during his life.

“This case serves as a reminder of the debt that we owe to all our veterans.” she continued.

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