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Pa. vets receive long-overdue medals

HAZLETON, Pa. — Joseph C. "Sarge" Heintz expected to receive three medals for his decades of Army service.

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta presented him with 16.

"I feel great," Heintz, of Hazleton, said Friday. "I feel like they're remembering me."

Barletta, R-11, also presented long-overdue or replacement military medals to David Sturdevant, of Tunkhannock, and George A. Zeeb, West Hazleton, who accepted them on behalf of his father, the late George W. Zeeb.

The younger Zeeb said the medals - eight in all for his father's Army service during World War II - meant "a lot" to him. His only regret, he said, was that his father would never see them. The elder Zeeb died last year.

Sturdevant, who served in the Air Force from 1965 to 1969, received the Air Force Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

"I'm very humbled to be here today, and I very much appreciate" the medals, he said.

Barletta made the presentation from outside his office at the CAN DO Renaissance Center in Hazleton.

Heintz, who served in the Army, National Guard and Reserves from 1947 to 1990, knew he would be getting the Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart with one bronze oak leaf cluster.

The additional medals were a result of military research done by Barletta's assistants, and include the Good Conduct Medal; Presidential Unit Citation; Army of Occupation Medal with Germany clasp; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal with one silver service star; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with numeral 3; Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters; NCO Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; United Nations Service Medal; Honorable Service lapel button for World War II; Diver Badge, first class and Parachutists' badge.

He plans to display some of the medals in his home, and affix some to the Army uniform he wears on military holidays.

Heintz reflected on his service with his wife, Hilary, who accompanied him to the presentation.

"I feel that every single person - man - in the United States should serve at least one tour," Heintz said. "I just feel like you learn a lot. You learn how to be a man, not a wise guy or a troublemaker. You learn how to live with people."

George W. Zeeb served from 1944 to 1946 and received the Bronze Star Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster; Good Conduct Medal; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; WWII Victory Medal; Combat Infantry Badge, first award; Honorable Service lapel button for WWII and a marksman badge with rifle bar.
 

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