VFW Post Commander, Steve Frazer, left, Tom Arbanas, Past Commander Lyle Avery and, special AMVETS emissary Joe Salvia celebrate Arbanas medals.
Jul. 8, 2014 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Navy veteran awarded service medals 68-years after discharge
By: Don Howard
When retired Northville barber and veteran Tom Arbanas disembarked the USS Walker in 1945, he had just returned from 80 days at sea and heavy combat in Okinawa. His Navy ship had sustained persistent Japanese kamikaze attacks and the young 18-year-old Petty Officer Third Class was ready for discharge.
All Arbanas could think about was getting home.
Now 68 years later, the 86-year-old World War II veteran is being recognized for his bravery and courage during his military service.
Last Friday, U.S. District Veterans Liaison Joe Salvia, representing Congressman Kerry Bentivolio, R-11th District, along with Commander Steve Frazer and Past Commander Lyle Avery of VFW Northville Post 4012 presented Arbanas with service medals and ribbons he missed on that November day he was discharged in San Diego.
“I didn’t think about much it,” said Arbanas who lives in Kings Mill in Northville along with his wife of 64 years, Katherine.
“I didn’t have enough time to get the medals,” Arbanas said. He trained as a barber after leaving the Navy and owned his own shop on Dunlap Street in Northville from 1986 through 1992.
When Frazer got a call from Washington, D.C. regarding Arbanas’ service, he went to work and contacted special emissary Salvia, from the AMVETS Commerce District Office to help get the paperwork in place so Arbanas, who served in the Asia Pacific campaign and Pearl Harbor, would receive his medals.
Arbanas received three medals for his service; American Campaign, Asiatic Pacific Campaign and the Victory Medal.