Collins veteran receives U.S. Army medals after 60 years

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Korean War Veteran and Covington County resident, Owen Girley never received his recognition for the time he served in the United States Army.

"When I was discharged, they were pushing re-enlistment, and so they told me, I asked about the medals, they told me that if I re-enlisted I would get my heart, my Purple Heart, and I came home, I didn't re-enlist, I stayed at home, so I didn't get my heart, that's been sixty years ago," said Owen.

After being discharged from the U.S. Army in 1952, Owen never imagined of receiving his medal, but thanks to another Vietnam Veteran and roommate Bruce Burt, Owen finally received his Purple Heart January 25.

"It means a lot because it's something I treasure, will treasure for the rest of my life, and it's something I can look at and say well I was there," said Owen.

According to Owen, While in Korea, in the 1st Calvary Division in 1951, he was treated for shell shock and had a medal removed from his face after he was wounded by a mortar shell. Sixty years later, not only did Owen receive The Purple Heart, but he also received the Army of Occupation medal, National Defense Service medal, Korean Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award, and the United Nation Service Medal.

"I am proudest of the Combat Infantryman Badge that was given to infantry man who had been in combat," said Owen. "When you've got one of those, you've earned it. I'm going to keep them and when I'm buried I'm going to tell the people to bury them with me."

Owen is a resident of the Mississippi State Veterans Home in Collins.

Copyright 2013 WDAM. All rights reserved.