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March 1, 2015

Garst to unveil Dickey Medal of Honor for Veterans Day

GREENVILLE – On Nov. 15 Garst Museum will unveil the Official Display Congressional Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to U.S. Marine PFC Douglas E. Dickey of Ansonia in 1967. Dickey earned the medal for heroism during Operation Beacon Hill in Vietnam. He lost his life in battle saving those with him.

Garst Museum Executive Director Clay Johnson sent a letter to the U.S. Marine Corps requesting Dickey’s Medal of Honor for display on Dec. 17, 2013. “It took this long due to the very strict guidelines required for display,” Johnson said. “There is a very high security priority.” Only two are made. One is for the recipient or recipient’s family. The other is for display as appropriate.

In a June 23 letter from the Marine Corps, Johnson was advised U.S. Navy regulations “require that proper facilities be provided for an attractive and dignified display.” The letter also noted the “Medal of Honor must be safeguarded from theft, misuse, or abuse.” It is the original display medal numbered for purposes of identification; the letter noted missing medals are subject to investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“It’s interesting,” Johnson said. “Each branch of the service has its own version (of the medal).” This one showed the Navy anchor. He said there was one gentleman instrumental in helping him get this done, Lt. Col. Tom McKenney, USMC (Ret). “He got the ball rolling… he shared a powerful story with me on PFC Dickey; it had a huge impact on his life. It illustrates to this day how important this medal is.”

Johnson then told about a Vietnam veteran he saw sitting outside the museum shortly after the medal had arrived. “I asked him… ‘Would you like to see this?’ I could see it left an emotional impact on him. He was very thankful he had an opportunity to see it.

“I was very happy to provide that opportunity to him.”

A special exhibit will be set up to display the medal and recognize Dickey, who is the third Congressional Medal of Honor recipient from Darke County. The first two were from the Civil War. On March 22, 2013, the section of State Rte. 47 between State Rte. 49 and U.S. Hwy. 127 was designated Pfc. Douglas E. Dickey Memorial Highway by the Ohio General Assembly. The ceremony took place May 18, 2013, at the Ansonia American Legion Douglas Dickey Post No. 353.

Garst Museum Director Clay Johnson holds the Display Congressional Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to U.S. Marine PFC Douglas E. Dickey in 1967.

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