PORTAGE, Mich. (AP) – A World War II veteran from western Michigan has received medals for his service nearly 71 years after he was honorably discharged.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports 89-year-old John Butler of Portage was presented the medals Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton during a gathering with family and friends. The medals include a Purple Heart medal for wounds suffered in combat.

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Butler joined the Navy at age 16 in 1944 and served as a radar operator on the USS Kidd. Upton recounted Butler’s experience when the USS Kidd was attacked April 11, 1945, and said Butler lost his right eye and was in the hospital for “a number of months.”

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Upton’s office worked to get Butler the medals. Butler said he was “really appreciative” of the help in getting them.

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