“As a member of the House Armed Service Committee and the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I think it would be prudent to look into the possibility of holding a hearing to address this issue. It is important that our military have the proper technology to make certain that all of the names and citations of soldiers who have received the Medal of Honor or any other medals for valor are properly recorded in a searchable database. Decorating our soldiers with a medal is done so to honor soldiers and to demonstrate the nation’s appreciation for the extraordinary courage and commitment they show as they fight for the freedoms and values we hold dear. It is an honor that should not to be taken lightly. Therefore, an adequate system should be implemented to ensure these recognitions are recorded accurately.”
REP. DOUG LAMBORN, R-COLO, Armed Services & Veterans Affairs

 

REAL HEROES FOUND

Fighting with the 109th Congress, and trust me--it was a battle, made me hesitant to go back in the ring for a second round to try and get the logical follow-up to the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, the Roll of Valor Act of 2007. What motivated me to go back to the well one more time is not the sad stories I hear all too often of people whose efforts to learn about a hero in their family have ended in frustration, but the SUCCESS stories of those who have contacted me that illustrate just how important this database can be. These have been my inspiration to continue a task that is daunting.

In this page I will share with you some of those success stories in hopes that YOU TOO, can see how important this bill is. I am pleased to be able to help in these situations but it is now time for the U.S. Government to begin doing what I and other independent historians and researchers have been trying to do to remember our heroes for decades.

Doug Sterner


William H. Filemyr served honorably and with great distinction in World War II, and, his family believed, earned TWO Silver Stars. Unfortunately in an effort to obtain his records from NPRC they were advised that his records had burned in the fire. They believed they would never know he details of his heroism. On October 15, 2007 I received the following email from one of his nephews:

Because of your website I was able to track down the citations related to the two Silver Stars earned by my late uncle, William H. Filemyr. Because his service records have been lost (St. Louis fire) members of our family did not know any specifics about these awards. Using information on your website I was able to contact Brandon Weigand and obtain the two attached citations. Thank you for posting information about obtaining this information. Our family is thrilled to know specifics about the heroic actions of William H. Filemyr.
Bert Filemyr

William Filemyr's family has now taken that information including the citations for ALL his awards, and posted a tribute to him at: http://www.thefilemyrs.com/Genealogy/WilliamHenryFilemyr.htm 

On November 9, 2007 I rexceived the following e-mail:

RE: Joseph O. Emery
I work for Memorial Programs Service for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (Dallas, TX). I am working an application for the above named Veteran for his grave marker in a private cemetery. The applicant has stated that this Veteran had received the Distinguished Service Cross. I have called our Records Management Center and looked at 2 discharges and it does not appear on either one. Can you provide me any documentation on this above Veteran if he received the Distinguished Service Cross? I would greatly appreciate it and I am sure his spouse would also.

Had Joseph Emery requested burial at Arlington, he probably would have been denied as there was no record of his DSC in his discharge papers, and the Army has no database to confirm in. Furthermore, at this point in the effort his widow's request to have the DSC engraved on his headstone was about to be denied. A REAL American hero was almost forgotten by the country he served with great valor. I was able to respond to the above with the following:

My records show that a Private First Class Joseph O. Emery was indeed awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism on February 19, 1945, while serving with Company I, 130th Infantry Regiment, 33d Infantry Division. A citation authorizing his award and setting forth a narrative for the actions that merited award of the DSC was published under Headquarters, U.S. Forces-Pacific, General Orders No. 299 (1945).

In late 2007 Vietnam War Veteran Andrew Wescott, needing to obtain copies of his medical records, requested copies of his official military service records. When they arrived he was surprised to find the citation for Award of the Silver Star--he never knew he had earned one. 

While phonies abound because of the lack of an accurate means to refute their claims, TRUE heroes like Andrew Wescott live humbly unaware of some of our nation's highest honors. 

 

Vietnam vet receives long-overdue Silver Star
By Chris Freiberg - Fairbanks Daily News-Miner via The Associated Press
Posted : Saturday Jan 19, 2008 6:48:52 EST

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Nearly 40 years after he earned it for his actions during the Vietnam War, Andrew Wescott was finally awarded the Silver Star, the military’s fourth-highest decoration. The former platoon sergeant was all smiles as Major Gen. Stephen Layfield, commanding general of U.S. Army Alaska, presented him with the award Wednesday.

“Just because we find something should be presented earlier doesn’t mean it’s forgotten,” Layfield said.

Wescott was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on the afternoon of Oct. 23, 1968, when he and his unit were sent to Vietnam’s demilitarized zone to assess the effects of recent bombings. What they didn’t know was that the Viet Cong were already there, waiting for them. The platoon leader was ahead of the rest of the unit and died within moments of setting off an ambush. Wescott rushed into the fray to recover his body, taking several hits to his right side from small-arms fire in the process. He says the only thing that kept him going at that point was pure adrenaline.

As he searched for cover, Wescott was shot in the legs and left hand, losing two fingers in the process. He finally propped himself up against a tree where a comrade he only remembers as “Lt. Brown” brought him blood thickener, likely saving his life. 

Wescott received two standing ovations from the dozens of friends, family and active military members following the brief ceremony at Fort Wainwright. “I want to say thanks to the U.S. Army,” he told the crowd. “It may take them 39 years, but they get the job done.”

It was only two months ago, when he asked for a copy of his medical records from the Army, that Wescott discovered the Silver Star citation. It’s unclear exactly how it went undiscovered for so long, but the most likely explanation is that the paperwork for the award went through after he was already discharged and it was just filed away with the rest of his records.

“I knew I got shot, but I thought that was about it,” he said.

Wescott’s oldest daughter, Monica, flew up from the Lower 48 to see her father receive the Silver Star. Though he occasionally told her stories of his time in Vietnam, she was just as surprised as him to learn about the honor. “I’m just glad everyone else recognizes how great he is,” she said. “But I already knew that.”

More Examples To Come

 

 

 

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