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The Times and Democrat’s “Stories of Honor” series concluded Sunday with a special section bringing together the stories of 14 having served our country in the armed forces. The series began May 26 and concluded on Aug. 18, with each Sunday’s Magazine featuring an honoree. The special section included the stories of two more honorees, both generals having graduated from South Carolina State University and its celebrated ROTC program.

The honorees were selected from nominations by T&D readers by a July deadline. But as the series continued to be published, nominations continued to come in. As with the 2015 series, “Vietnam: They Served With Honor,” people reached out to tell us about others as good subjects for our stories. Regrettably, we could not do them all.

Our purpose today is to restate that all having served our country, including those persons nominated after the series deadline, are due honor. As a tribute to all, we offer the story of an Orangeburg veteran.

It has been exactly 50 years since Henry Dukes retired from the U.S. Army in 1969. He joined on March 25, 1947, and over the course of 22 years served around the globe.

Decorated combat veteran recounts action in 4 war zones

His training as a wheel vehicle mechanic took him initially to Atlanta Ordnance Department and then on to Maryland for training in track wheel mechanics. Upon re-enlistment, he was sent to Japan in 1949, where he was assigned to the Yokohama Ordnance Department just before the beginning of the Korean War.

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“On Monday, 26 June 1950 we started hauling ammo to the ships in Yokohama port. After the ships were loaded, I was transferred to the 570 Ordnance Company and we loaded on three LSTs and sailed for Pusan,” Dukes writes.

He spent nine months in Pusan before heading back to Japan and then on back to the U.S. He arrived in Orangeburg on Christmas Day 1951. After leave, he went to the site of his basic training at Fort Jackson and then on to Fort Rucker before being discharged from the Army in December 1952.

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But his military career was not over, with Dukes re-enlisting and being sent to France, where he spent 36 months. From there it was on to Fort Riley in Kansas and ultimately to Fourth Calvary Recon as a tank mechanic until 1959.

The next stop was Iceland and then Fort Hood, Texas, before being sent to Alaska in 1964, spending 30 months there. After 15 months back at Fort Hood, it was off to Vietnam, where he served until returning home on emergency leave and retiring on the last day of July 1969.

Thank you, Mr. Dukes, for your service. And, again, thanks to all having served our country. We salute you.

The T&D’s “Stories of Honor” series can be reviewed in its entirety at TheTandD.com.

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