Washington, May 6, 2010 -
HUMBLE - John Leming, 81, spent a good part of his life fighting for liberty and justice.
As a 22-year U.S. Army veteran, Leming served his country from 1946 until 1968, defended his countryís interests in two wars, and earned a wall full of medals. But until recently, he was missing one special honor that should have been part of his collection of decorations for 60 years already.
ìWhen [John Leming] went off to war as a kid, he was wounded and received the Purple Heart while he was in the hospital for six months, recovering from his wounds,î said Congressman Ted Poe at a recent meeting of the North Harris County Criminal Law Enforcement Association. ìHe received many medals in his career, but there was one medal he did not receive.î
Reading from a citation dated Dec. 10, 1950, Poe applauded Lemingís heroic actions on the battlefield during the Korean War near Waegwan on Sept. 17, 1950.
ìPrivate Fleming was a member of a platoon that was holding vital high ground against numerically superior enemy forces. In the absence of a medical aid man, he voluntarily, under heavy enemy fire, made his way to an exposed position in order to render first aid and to evacuate our wounded from exposed positions without regard for his own personal safety; and despite the fact that he himself had been seriously and painfully wounded,î Poe read. ìHe was able to evacuate two wounded soldiers to positions of comparative safety and to give them first aid. Private Lemingís heroic actions reflected great credit upon himself and the military service.î
On May 4, nearly six decades later, Poe presented Leming with the Bronze Star medal, inscribed with the letter ìVî for valor.
ìAlthough 36,000 Americans were killed in the Korean War, it is kind of the forgotten war. We still do not officially call it a war - itís called a conflict,î Poe told Leming. ìThis medal is long overdue. We appreciate you and your service.î
Leming enlisted in his home state of California in 1946 and completed basic training in Ft. Dix, NJ, where he also attended cook and baker school. He was later transferred to a signal depot in Honolulu, HI, until his deployment to Korea in 1950.
After his recovery from the injury sustained in Korea, Leming came back to the US and, after a brief stint at Ft. Benning, GA, was stationed at Camp Roberts, CA, as a post locator
Following his marriage to his wife, Pat, in 1952, Leming was sent to the 7 Army Corps and transferred to Ft. Ord, CA, in 1954.
In 1958, Leming moved on to Chicago, were he was assigned to the 22nd Artillery Group. About four years later, Lemingís journey led to Cleveland, OH, where he worked as a radar tech until his reassignment to the Air Defense Board at Ft. Bliss, TX.
Leming then spent a year in Vietnam, assigned to the 2nd Field Force Headquarters in Na Trang. He returned to the US and retired from military service in April 1968.
During his Army career, Leming earned the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal (3rd award), the Presidential Unit Citation, the World War II Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal (Germany), the National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, the Korean Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the United Nations Service Medal (1st award), the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, the Expert Badge with carbine bar, the Sharpshooter Badge with rifle bar, and the Marksman Badge with carbine bar.
After his military retirement, Leming worked in the telephone industry until 1990. He raised two daughters and a son lives in northwest Houston with his wife of 58 years.