BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — A Beaverton man discovered a Vietnam veteran’s long-lost Silver Star Medal just in time for Veterans Day.
Dick Gregson said he was helping his mother clean out a cedar chest in her Twin Bridges, Montana home when they stumbled upon the medal.
“She gave it to me, she’s not savvy with the Internet, and said, ‘can you find him and get this back to him?’” Gregson said. “And how she ended up with it we don’t know.”
It was addressed to Patrick Monte Malone, a man who worked on Gregson’s grandfather’s farm many decades ago.
As far as Gregson remembers, Malone was about 15 or 16 when he came to work for his family in southwestern Montana. In 1967, Malone left for the Army. He was severely injured in combat in 1968.
“He got his Purple Heart and then the Silver Star, but it was probably sent back to my mom and my stepfather… where [Malone] is actually from,” Gregson explained.
The medal came with a letter signed May 13, 1968.
“For gallantry in action in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force,” the letter begins. “Specialist Four Malone distinguished himself while serving as chief of a searchlight crew… when it came under mortar attack.”
The letter recounts that day when his crew’s guns malfunctioned. In the relative quiet which followed, Malone heard a hysterical cry from a nearby bunker. He found a young Vietnamese girl who said she saw Viet Cong advancing in the perimeter.
“Leaving the safety of the bunker, he immediately placed accurate machine gun fire on the enemy locations,” the letter continues.
Malone was severely wounded in the back, arm and legs shortly after.
“His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army,” the letter concludes.
Gregson said returning the medal was the right thing to do, and he’s happy Malone is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
The medal and letter were framed and sent off to Malone who now lives in Virginia.
Gregson said he’s talked to Malone since he initially tracked him down. The Vietnam veteran is battling lung cancer and is still having heart trouble from his injuries.
Malone said he was happy to see the medal for the first time since it was sent to him in 1968.