By Mike Albanese
December 2, 2015 7:30 pm
Elmor Enlow served his country more than 70 years ago in WWII.
He served in Japan from 1945-46 in the counterintelligence department – a precursor to the CIA.
Enlow, however, was allowed to be honorably discharged from service following the passing of his father.
What never made it back with him where his medals recognizing his service.
That all changed when Al Enlow, the son of Elmor, received a notification from Military and Veteran’s Liaison John Hayes of Congressman Kenny Marchant’s office that his father’s medals were recovered.
“I couldn’t get those medals myself. I tried,” Al Enlow said. “The important point is all’s well that ends well. Without John Hayes and Congressman Marchant’s office .. there would be no happy ending.”
Al Enlow said his attempt to get his father’s medals began several years ago when his father passed away. He visited his home in Kansas and found no records of his medals or his military past.
So in 2008 he submitted a request to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. The response from the NPRC stated that his father’s records were destroyed in a fire.
“So, I just basically gave up,” he said.
Al Enlow, however, restarted his goal to get his father’s medals after seeing a news story where a Fort Worth congressman helped retrieve medals for a 94-year-old man.
Enlow contacted Marchant’s office on Oct. 19 and spoke to Hayes, asking if there was any way to get the medals back.
Hayes said on Tuesday that he has helped retrieve 181 medals over the past 10 years.
“It’s one of the most enjoyable things that I do,” Hayes said.
He said the process usually takes a few weeks to a few months. Hayes also said that he was surprised by the letter sent to Elmor by the NPRC.
Al Enlow said Hayes called him the Monday before Thanksgiving to say that he found his father’s medals.
“John was in there. He had the medals out on the coffee table in the receptionist area on a purple presentation pad … he went through every single one of them,” Al Enlow said. “To be honest with you, I almost cried.”
Elmor Enlow received the following awards: Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory medal, Army of Occupation medal, the honorable service lapel button and a marksman badge.
“At my age … you rarely get surprises that are pleasant,” Al Enlow said. “This was a pleasant surprise that I was able to get his medals.”
Al Enlow said his father didn’t speak much of his service and felt he would be very direct if he were alive today.
“My father was a distinct individual. He probably would say, ‘That’s what they were supposed to give me,’” Al Enlow said.