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  •  In this morning's paper... (13+ / 0-)

    I spotted this story: NC man getting Purple Heart back, 70 years later

    While serving in WWII, Army Cpl George Hemphill mailed home his Purple Heart for safekeeping and never gave it another thought.  Turns out the medal never made it home and Hemphill was completely unaware until he was notified that a Florida man had purchased the medal in 200 at an antique store in SC with the hope of one day retuning it to its owner.  

    "I'm just flabbergasted," said Hemphill, 90, of Union Mills. "I don't know what to think. They're just going out of their way to give it back to me. I'm just grateful to them for all the work they're doing. And the expense, it's just something. I don't know how to describe it."

    Hemphill will get his Purple Heart in a ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Rutherfordton Community Center. Capt. Zachariah Fike of Burlington, Vt., who runs the nonprofit Purple Hearts Reunited, will present the award to Hemphill, along with a Bronze Star that Hemphill never knew the military had granted him.

    The reason this jumped out at me was that I wrote a piece on Veterans Day about Zachariah Fike and his nonprofit:

    MOT: Veteran's Day Edition

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 03:57:25 AM PST

    •  Important point about the military (6+ / 0-)

      Your mail is not secure!!! And neither are your belongings

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:50:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would add a second point (8+ / 0-)

        Time and again, I see reports of a guy recommended for a medal or award and it's approved all the way up the line but somehow SNAFU sets in and it is never awarded.  Later a researcher may discover that the commendation or award or medal may have never been actually bestowed.
        It never hurts to get copies of your service records just to double check (another reason is that service records do disappear and are destroyed; this is the most famous example:  Short of story is your copy of your DD214 and other records could be invaluable in claiming benefits later in life)

        •  OK now I got to tell my CIB story (6+ / 0-)

          When I left Vietnam I was wearing the CIB--Combat Infntryman's BAdge. EVERYBODY I was with wore one and I fully deserved it---I had no reason to think otherwise---it was a freebie for Army grunts in Vietnm. I wore it ll the time at Ft Bragg, so did everyone else that had done thethings I'd done. I never saw the orders for it but no one else ever saw their orders for it.
          A year later and I'm getting discharged. They said to me: where's your oers for that CIB. I'm like: HUH?? WTF are you talking about???!!!
          It was true: there were no orders for it . I took it off and slammed it down on the fucking table!!! Take it and you know what you can do with it!!!
          I just wanted out, I wanted it over, I wanted never to remember the whole fucking thing again.  Shove it up your ass, America, I'm outta here! was the feeling I had when discharged.
          Sometimees when people thank me for my service I think of that.

          Flash forward 30 years and I have a claim in to the VA for disability. I felt like I had some unfinished business: I wanted the CIB!
          So I applied fo it, with orders, witness statements, pictures (this is when Istarted collecting wartime pictures of my lrrp unit, now over 240)  I had it all!
           One of my fantasies all those years ws that I would apply for it and they'd say there was no evidence to back that up and I'd go in and start throwing the freaking furniture around.  And thats exactly what they did---twice!  I had to apply 3 times to get my CIB but I was nt going to quit
          it made me SO mad all over again and I vowed rright then I would nt quit utill I got everything I wanted out of them. was going to slamdunk them (and i did!)
          After the 2d time I went to my Congressman, george Miller, and told them the same story.  4 weeks later the Congresman awarded it to me---bet I'n the only Vietnam vet you know, or will ever know, who got his CIB awarded to him by a Congressman inthe 21st Century.

          but thats not where the story ended.

          few years later I ws telling a lrrp buddy of mine that story and he says wait a minute. he goes and gets his orders for hs CIB an I'M ON IT!!! Those are my orders too!! It was dated 6 weeks after I left counntry so I never got it, they never bothered to send it on.
          And there were 2 other people I know on it who never got theirs either!! I made sure they got a copy of them too.

          But THATS not where the story ends either!!  I have a friend I was in the 101st with and I told HIM the story---and he got out HIS orders and I was on them too (written afer I left th 101)

          Still following this? the army told me TWICE that I was not eligible to achieve and award THA THEY HAD ALREADY TWICE AWARDED ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          And that I ultimateely got again!!
          So noww I got 3 CIBs after walking away from the Army without one!! I still look at thiss with mixed feelings, inluding a great sense of accomplishment. Its hard to think its much of an honor when I had to apply for it 3 times and were turned down the first two.

          Youre Welcome, youre welcome, youre welcome America.

          Everything I do is a story

          Happy just to be alive

          by exlrrp on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 06:47:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  AND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (5+ / 0-)

            I now have a complete set of my military records.
            There's plenty of evidence in them to make the award.
            they just flatout lied to me...........again

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 06:58:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Also re: spitting hippies (6+ / 0-)

              No one ever, EVER insulted me like the US Army did

              Happy just to be alive

              by exlrrp on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 07:01:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  That is why the term (4+ / 0-)

              "military intelligence" is an oxymoron!

              My husband got turned down for Chief the first time - no surprise as very few get it the first time, but when he was turned down the second time it made him and lots of his contemporaries wonder.   I had seen and heard several times that you should send for your military records - check them for errors just like you would do for your credit report.  Sure enough there it was -- a claim that he'd turned down an invite into the  LDO (Limited Duty Officer) program.  Heh.

              Seems years earlier he'd applied and (we thought) never heard back.  Not so.  They approved him and sent the paperwork to his last command who never forwarded it to him.  

              Got that error corrected and he made CPO the next go round.

              Always check those records and you can't have enough DD214s.  (I heard that so much that over the years that I'm not surprised that in the 18 months since he died, I'm still finding copies of the DD214 in different places - I probably have 15 copies of it).

              As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

              by JaxDem on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 07:11:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  yep you are living proof and you are not the (4+ / 0-)

              only vet; in the short time I was at the VA in the 70's I found plenty of WWII and Korea vets who were having the same troubles as the military yoyoed the numbers you needed to have been a combat vet or needed to be considered a vet.  In those days, eligibility tended to be a moving target.

              Heck I even have my grandfather's records now (and his uniform) in case they decide to rescind the flag he had draped on his coffin

              •  They had me down in a different MOS (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                entlord, Otteray Scribe, chimene

                In the time in the lrrps, they had me down as being a commo MOS. I didn't find this out untill I got my records in 2003. Yet on the  CIB orders, and other places, they had me down in an infantry MOS, they would not have given me the CIB if I was in commo.
                I have no idea why they did that, I never was anything but an infantryman 11B as far as I knew, had no reason to think anything else. I believe this is why I did not make sgt in Vietnam, tho.

                Happy just to be alive

                by exlrrp on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 10:30:19 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

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