By Bill Parry
An 85-year-old Korean War veteran in Jackson Heights had his long lost medals replaced Monday after an intervention by two Queens lawmakers.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and state Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-East Elmhurst), the chairman of the Assembly’s Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, presented Robert West with the military decorations he had managed to misplace shortly after the armistice was signed in July 1953.
In addition to replacing the medals West had lost, Crowley and DenDekker also presented him with an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol is recognition of his service in the U.S. Army.
“We can never forget the incredible sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform,” Crowley said. “The medals earned by these brave Americans are tokens of appreciation for their service and I’m proud to have helped secure the reissue of the medals Robert West was awarded. We owe a debt of gratitude to individuals like Robert and this is the least we could do to honor his commitment to our nation.”
The four military decorations included the National Service Medal, the Korean War medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the United Nations Service Medal. West enlisted in the U.S Army in January 1953 and was honorably discharged in 1954. He last served with the 3rd Division 15th Regiment Army Medical Company. West also served with the New York National Guard at the 369th Armory.
“I thank Congressman Crowley for his role in replacing these important military service medals for someone who gave so much of himself to this county,” DenDekker said. “I salute Robert West for serving with great distinction and courage. He has made our Queens community and our nation proud and I’m thrilled he is once again in possession of the decorations he so rightly deserves.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr