Good deed returns to vet with award of own WWII medals
Posted October 5, 2016
Graham Tannery did his duty twice, and after 70 years if finally getting the recognition he deserves.
Tannery served during World War II, earning three ribbons. But it was a bracelet that did not belong to him that brought his case to the attention of the Veterans Legacy Foundation.
Tannery worked as a plane mechanic at a base in west Texas. There he found the bracelet of a fellow airman in 1944.
Decades later, he sought the help of the Veterans Legacy Foundation to locate the owner.
"I would like to see who it belongs to," Tannery said.
The search led him to Capt. Oldell Woods, shot down over Tokyo Bay. On Memorial Day 2016, Tannery was able to send the bracelet to Woods' sister in Iowa.
In working with him, John Elskamp found that Tannery was missing something as well.
"Like many veterans of World War II, when they came home, not everyone received the medals that they earned. And in this case, Mr. Tannery did not.
"He showed me three ribbons, and I said, 'Where are the medals?' He goes, 'No, there are no medals with these.' I go, 'Yes there are, and let us go get them for you.'"
Asthma kept Tannery from combat, but he still did his part.
"I never did do any real service in the Army, other than help people learn how to fly and work on airplanes, so it's an honor to find out that I even have any medals," he said.
Elskamp knows Tannery's work was real service. And at 95 years old, in the office of Rep. George Holding, he received what the nation owed to him: a good conduct medal, an American campaign medal and a WWII victory medal.
Tannery says he looks forward to putting his medals in a frame. He's delighted with his honors, and he is especially happy that the bracelet he held onto for all these years is finally with the family of its rightful owner.