Local Man, Ernie Brace, to Be Awarded Two Purple Hearts and the Prisoner of War Medal

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Brace, documented as the longest held civilian prisoner of war during Vietnam, is being awarded the military medals for his service during captivity.

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My four-and-a-half years of solitary confinement, two and a half in stocks, is a tribute to perseverance and prior training.

The US Navy is awarding three prestigious military medals to Ernie Brace on Aug. 16, 2013, at Kingsley Field, Klamath Falls, Ore., in recognition for his service in Laos and Vietnam from 1965 to 1973.

Brace, then a civilian contract pilot, is known for spending nearly eight years in North Vietnamese captivity, effectively making him the longest held civilian POW in American history.

“My four-and-a-half years of solitary confinement, two and a half in stocks, is a tribute to perseverance and prior training,” said Ernie Brace of his experience.

Brace now lives in Klamath Falls, Ore., and with a VA rating at 100 percent disabled.

“I spent a year attached to the Balboa Naval Hospital getting patched up from wounds received as a POW. The worst is nerve damage in all extremities,” said Brace.

Marking the 62nd anniversary of Brace’s commission as a USMC second lieutenant in 1951, the official ceremony is being held at Kingsley Field.

The awards, including two Purple Heart Medals and the Prisoner of War Medal, were originally recommended, with the exception of the POW Medal, for Brace by Adm. James B. Stockdale in 1973. The application was re-presented to Secretary of the Navy in 2011 through Senator John McCain's office and drafted by Capt. Rod Knutson, U.S. Navy Retired, a fellow POW when it was finally approved.

“I think my Marine Corps training kept me going at first. I never thought I would die up there and escape seemed possible all the time in my head,” said Brace.

In April, National Geographic featured Brace’s story on their popular television series, "Locked Up Abroad: Where Are They Now?"

Ernie Brace was released on March 28, 1973, after spending 7 years, 10 months and 7 days in captivity.

About USA Military Medals:

USA Military Medals (http://www.usamilitarymedals.com/) is an internet-based company formed in 2005, carrying more than 12,000 dress uniform products in stock and specializing in custom military medal and military ribbon rack production with their state-of-the-art rack builder. USA Military Medals also operates a brick and mortar store servicing local military personnel and veterans.

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Michael Murdoch, Public Relations Director

Michael Murdoch, Public Relations Director
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