WELLSVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – A Vietnam veteran who lives in Columbiana County got a very important honor returned to him.
Joseph Brown was awarded seven military medals for his service:
- Purple Heart
- Air Medal
- Army Commendation Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- Vietnam Service Medal
- Combat Infantryman Badge
- Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon
He also earned the Marksman Badge and Auto Rifle, Machine Gun, and Rifle bars.
Brown was shot saving a friend in Vietnam.
“The Silver Star I got, I went out and saved my friend, which I did, but I had to kill people to get to him and I brought him back. They shot me while I was bringing him back.”
The men he served with in Vietnam became his family but when his medals were stolen from his house last December, it was like losing his friends all over again.
When Congressman Bill Johnson found out what happened, he wanted to help a fellow veteran and took action to make sure Brown got new medals.
On Monday, he presented Brown with replacements. He got five medals back and his replacement Silver Star is on the way.
The sparkle in Brown’s eyes has returned because now he has a huge part of his life back.
“That’s what my friends stood for. I didn’t get them by myself, I got them because of all my friends,” he said. “We never left one another behind, no matter how bad it got. Hand-to-hand combat, they stood right there toe-to-toe.”
Brown said the medals gave him a sense of pride, but are mostly important because they represent the sacrifices he and his friends made during the war.
Wellsville’s police chief said there is a lead in the stolen medal case but couldn’t go into detail.