Vietnam KIA Bronze Star/Purple Heart Medal

Sgt. Joseph R. Harris, E Troop, 2d Squadron, 11th ACR. Trooper entered service in Vietnam on 3 November 1969 and was killed in action 24 November 1969

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Fellow Troopers


I like a hand full of others, received an email from John Stoddard, alerting us that the Medals of one of our KIA’s were being sold at auction on ebay.

 When I first looked at the auction,  I felt like any Trooper would naturally feel, It was to me like the time when we returned from nam and noboby cared. It was like someone was reaching down into this Trooper’s Honored Grave just to make a buck.


I talked to Ollie and several others and it became apparent that we needed to do something. We knew that we could not let everyone know about this until the auction was over, because we knew that every good hearted trooper would start bidding in an effort to get these medals back to the family, and that would make the price sky rocket if we were all bidding against each other..


So at this point we had less than 72 hours before the auction ended.


Ollie devised a plan.

  1. Find out who is selling the items, and how they got them.
  2. Locate the relatives and see what information they had.
  3. Find a way to raise enough money to purchase the items and either return them to the family, or if no family exist, Them put them in the Blackhorse museum.
  4. Ollie told me that if we could not raise  the money needed, That he would pay for the medals himself  and return them to the family in the name of the 11thACVVC.
  5. Eric Newton suggested then that we all contribute to the cause, at that point the money and offers of support started rolling end from loyal troopers and KIA relatives.
  6. Since I live in Kentucky and Sgt. Harris was from Ky, I decided to locate the family if possible, After calling all the Harris’s in the Book I located the nephew of Sgt Harris about 2 am, He gave me the phone number of his father, Sgt Harris’s brother. I talked to him about 2:30 am and He was surprised to hear the news. He said that his stepfather had died a year ago and had let his other son a non blood relative sell everything without letting the KIA's family know. The KIA has a daughter and a grandson that never new her dad, I tried but was unable to locate the daughter or grandson.
  7. His blood brother desperately wanted the medals but did not have the money to purchase the items.
  8. Sgt. Harris’s brother James and I talked many times over the next few hours. He did not know of the 11thACVVC, He visited our website and now wants to meet the Troopers his brother served with.
  9.  During this time Ollie took charge of the bidding on ebay. With only 3 hours left the bid was $300.00 made by a guy named Perry.
  10. James called me and told me that after he told the guys at work about it they raised $300.00 for the cause. James then told me that He thought that he did not have any friends and that he sure was wrong, I told him that not only did he have friends at work, but he thru his brother Sgt Harris had a few thousand more friends.
  11. Ollie was preparing to bid as high as needed to secure the bid. He was concerned that at the last minute that someone would outbid us and that was not acceptable.
  12. I then emailed the high bidder Mr Perry and told him the story and asked that he cease bidding., He not only stopped bidding, He even withdrew the bid he had placed of 300.00 so Ollie was again the High bidder.
  13. Keep in mind that while this was all going on, their was a flurry of emails of support from all the People that new the story, the website staff  and many many others.
  14.  Next James Harris called me and told me that the seller of the Medals had contacted him and said that he had received so much email over this sell, He was scared to death and would stop the auction and sell the medals back to him for what he had paid for them 350.00, Ollie approved the purchase immediately.
  15. Less than 2 hours before the auction ended the seller stopped the auction and the medals will be returned to the Brother of Sgt Harris,  James Harris.



Respectfully Submitted

Otis Carey