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Local Navy veteran reflects on his military service

Veterans Day is just days away and it’s important to recognize local heroes. 

One of those is the Commander of the American Legion in Marion, Tom Johnston. 

The Navy veteran enlisted in April 1997 when he was 21 years old. 

"My father was a veteran of the Korean War," Johnston says. "My fiance’s family (now wife) were all career military." 

He stayed in the military for eight years as a hospital corpsman and combat corpsman. 

Although he spent most of his time in the United States, Johnston did spend some time in Okinawa, Japan during the Gulf war. 

During that time, he provided refresher training to corpsman being sent to the front lines. 

"It was pretty intense, we really had to push the envelope with those guys because they were headed into the unknown," Johnston says. 

The veteran says the most rewarding aspect of being in the Navy is that his kids were able to grow up as military children, which helped to shape their attitudes toward life and how they carry themselves. 

Johnston hopes that the public will attend Veterans Day celebrations at the Marion American Legion. 

The post will host a ham and bean dinner that’s open to the public and starts at noon on November 11th. 

 11720 Longstreet Rd, Marion, IL 62959

(618) 997-6168

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