A Van Buren man was presented with four medals for his service in the Korean War during a ceremony Tuesday at the Van Buren Public Library.
Hershal Jones, 81, was presented with the United Nations Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal by Col. Stephen Gray, senior military and veterans affairs liaison for Sen. John Boozman.
“Hershal, we want to thank you and pay tribute to you for fighting a disparate war,” Gray said. “It was an ugly war from the get go, but we had to fight it and we did.”
Jones, born in Mulberry in 1932, joined the Air Force in January 1951. After completing basic training and training at Oklahoma A&M College as a clerk typist, he shipped off to service in Korea, according to a letter from Boozman.
Jones was stationed at the 5th Air Force Headquarters - the main United Nations Command for all combat air operations in Korea, according to the letter. His job was to send and receive classified messages and orders from subordinate units advising headquarters of enemy activities and movements.
“The flow of timely information amongst units was critical to the success of the mission,” Boozman wrote. “Today we honor you for your service by bestowing these symbols of a grateful nation.”
Jones was visibly emotional after receiving the medals, with tears running down his face as other veterans attending the ceremony came by to shake his hand.
“I just feel honored,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of people here today that did the same thing, so I’m not alone in this.