Local News

Purple Heart recipients to be honored at special dinner

Posted July 27

— The Purple Heart is one of the most sacred medals a service member can receive.

Barry Pierce, commander of the Fort Bragg Chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, was in the Air Force and was shot down twice while serving in Vietnam.

"(In) my last crash I was the sole survivor of a 15-man crew, and that means something to me," Pearce said.

He keeps his Purple Heart nearby. It is a reminder that freedom is not free.

"It's not mine. It's not just mine," Pearce said. "It's for all my brothers that didn't make it."

Roscoe Killett, 71, said he will never forget Nov. 29, 1965, the day he was injured in Vietnam. He was 19.

"We were attacked by the enemy. I got shrapnel in the arm, hip, eye," Killett said. "Stayed in the hospital for about 31 days."

He recovered and was sent back to his unit to continue fighting. That's when he had to carry a friend, killed in action, for a full day.

"We don't leave nobody behind, so we had to take him with us," Killett said.

Pearce and Killett were two of the Purple Heart recipients who attended a special dinner next month.

"For many of the Purple Heart recipients, for most, it's the first time they've ever been recognized and thanked in public," said Michael Johnson, Purple Heart dinner chairman. "With the walk of honor that we do for each recipient, they never forget this."

The dinner also will honor Gold Star Mothers and families of those killed in action.

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