|Clark Warren accepts his third Navy Air Meal and the Distinguished Flying Cross from Terry Schow, director of Utah Veterans Affairs, during ceremonies at the American Legion convention in Salt Lake City on June 24.|
For Clark Warren and many Americans, the action in the Korean War ended in 1953, with no victory for either side.
The United States Navy airman spent two tours of duty on the Korean Peninsula, flying 47 missions over enemy territory. He was transferred stateside near the end of his second tour and ended up serving 40 years in the naval reserve.
At a reunion in the late 1990s, the discussion turned to the action the air crew members had witnessed. One of the six remaining crew members at the reunion mentioned medals.
"He told me that the crew had been awarded a third Navy Air Meal and the Distinguished Flying Cross," said Warren. "I looked at him and wondered what he was talking about."
Warren, who was the tail gunner on a flying boat, and the nose gunner, had both left the unit before the medals were awarded and they never caught up with them. So one of his buddies convinced him that he should pursue getting the medals awarded.
Warren found out that he needed a sponsor to receive the medals and the higher up in the government the better. He contacted Sen. Orrin Hatch's office and the staff asked him for documentation.
Once the documentation was provided, Hatch agreed to talk with the U.S. Navy Department. The Navy contacted Warren and told him he needed to submit various notarized documents, including his flight log.
"I got everything together and took it down to the county," said Warren. "Alexis Horsley notarized it for me and I sent it off. That was in 2001 or 2002. Then I heard nothing."
Warren had almost forgotten about the matter when Hatch's staff called and said the office had received the commendations and medals.
The senator's office asked Warren when he would be in Salt Lake City to accept the Korean War military honors.
"I told them I was going to the American Legion convention toward the end of June and they said that would be perfect," stated Warren.
On June 24 in front of hundreds of legionnaires, Warren accepted the military medals.
"It was a very proud moment to be standing in front of all those veterans and getting those medals," pointed out Warren. "Afterwards, I think every person in the room came up and shook my hand. It was very humbling."