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Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. honored as Texoma Hero

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 5:56 PM CDT
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - A 92-year-old Marine Corps veteran was honored on Friday as the Texoma Hero of the month.

The Denison native served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

The audience at the Sherman VFW Post 2772 gave a standing ovation Friday afternoon for Gunnery Sergeant James “Jim” Haun, a Texoma Hero.

“I felt honored to have it given to me,” Haun said. “It makes me feel honored and real good.”

He joined the United States Marine Corps at age 17 to serve in World War II in both China and Japan.

Haun would then go to Korea as part of the First Marine Division.

He was one of the “Chosin Few,” Marines and Soldiers who battled Chinese troops for 17 days in subfreezing temperatures at the Chosin Reservoir.

Years later, he worked with Ground to Air Missiles in Vietnam.

He retired after 22 years of service.

“It absolutely reminded me of the days that have gone by,” Haun said.

At 92 years old, Haun can still wear his original dress blues and he’s full of stories.

At the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, they asked for more ammunition. The code word was Tootsie Rolls.

But instead of ammo, parachutes full of Tootsie Roll candies were sent to them.

Not only saving their spirits, but their lives, as some used them to plug bullet holes in equipment.

“I’m proud of the fact that I went over there and I’m proud of the fact that I served and came back. I contribute that to three things. Number one God, my commanding general and the Tootsie Rolls,” Haun said.

Veteran Billy Teague founded the Texoma Hero Program where they honor a veteran every month.

“I’m still in awe of being able to have this opportunity to not only meet him, but to recognize him. It’s just something that I don’t have words for,” Teague said.

They’re selected from nominations. One quality they look for in a Texoma Hero is someone who is a role model for younger generations.

“I mean if I was 16 years old and I was sitting in the audience today, I would look at Jim Haun and say I want to be like him,” Teague said.

Haun said the recognition is humbling.

“In fact, it made tears come to my eyes over there,” Haun said.

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