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John Jangula, center, receives miltary medals from Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., Friday during a ceremony at the Stutsman County Law Enforcement Center. Jangula is a Korean War veteran. Warren Tobin, left, Stutsman County veterans service officer, presented Jangula a book titled “Korea Reborn.” John M. Steiner / The Sun

Korean War veteran receives medals

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Sen. John Hoeven presented John Jangula with medals he earned during the Korean War at the Stutsman County Law Enforcement Center Friday.

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Hoeven presented Jangula with the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, Combat Infantryman Badge, first award and the United Nations Service Medal.

“It is certainly high time we did this,” Hoeven said. “It is important to honor the great veterans who served our country in Korea.”

Jangula was also presented the book, “Korea Reborn,” by Warren Tobin, Stutsman County veterans service officer. The book is a product of the Republic of Korea and is presented to veterans of the conflict.

Jangula’s stories of his service flowed freely during the medal presentation ceremony Friday. He related riding in a fighter aircraft on a trip to Japan for rest and recreation and buzzing the top of Mount Fuji and driving trucks of soldiers and supplies to the top of “Old Baldy,” the highest point in Korea. He also displayed some of the photographs he took during his service.

Marilyn Monroe plays an important part in one of the stories he related.

Jangula said he noticed one of his fellow soldiers was down in the dumps because he was scheduled for guard duty during a USO show featuring Bob Hope and Monroe. Jangula volunteered to walk the guard post for his friend.

“The officers considered me a top soldier for my compassion for my fellow soldier,” he said.

His time spent guarding an ammunition dump resulted in the capture of a North Korean which further improved his standing with the officers.

The story, told a few times in the Jangula household over the years, prompted his wife, Grace, to do a needlepoint portrait of Monroe as a gift for her husband.

Despite his stories and memories, he received no medals honoring his service until now.

“The records got burned up,” he said. “Otherwise I would have had more.”

Jangula was born in Zeeland but grew up in the Edgeley area where he joined the North Dakota National Guard in 1949 at the age of 17. He served in Korea for eight months and 20 days and was discharged in December 1952. He farmed and raised his family in the Edgeley area before retiring to Bismarck. He currently makes his home in Napoleon with his wife.

“Dad has always been proud of his service in Korea,” said Irene Baumann, Jangula’s daughter who lives in Edgeley. “I’m glad we’re drawing attention to it.”

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at knorman@jamestownsun.com

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