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44 years later, Jamestown Vietnam vet finally awarded Silver Star, Purple Heart

It took 44 years, but Jamestown resident and Vietnam War veteran Paul Harvey finally got the medals he deserved, including a Silver Star, the military’s third-highest personal decoration for valor in combat, and a Purple Heart.

Born in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1946, Harvey moved to Narragansett in 1948 and also lived on Long Island, New York and in Nova Scotia where he attained dual American-Canadian citizenship before settling permanently in Jamestown in 1983.

Harvey, now 71, was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967. He served in Vietnam as a member of the Army’s 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division (“Wolfhounds”), saw significant combat action and was wounded on the battlefield. He was honorably discharged in 1973.

Harvey was supposed to receive the awards before leaving Vietnam, but he didn’t want to wait three weeks for the ceremony. When he got home, he never talked about his valor under fire because the sentiment against Vietnam veterans was fierce.

“Like most veterans,” he said, “I kept everything a secret. When we got home, they told us to put on our civilian clothes and get out of here.”

Harvey was also presented with other military honors, including: National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four Bronze Service Stars, Combat Infantry Badge/1st Award, Republic Of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon with Device (1960), Expert Badge Rifle Bar, and Sharpshooter Badge with Auto Rifle Bar.

Harvey said he earned the Silver Star for fighting his way into an armed North Vietnamese camp to retrieve the body of a fallen solider.

He earned the Purple Heart for being wounded twice in battle performing similar missions.

“As a young man, Paul Harvey made it through some very tough stuff in Vietnam and I am honored to present him with these medals,” Reed said. They are a reminder of his service to our country, and a token of our gratitude for the sacrifices he made on behalf of our nation.”

After completing his military service, Mr. Harvey worked as a commercial fisherman for more than four decades.

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© 2017 The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.)

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