LeRoy Collins Commentary 96

Commentary #96
8 October 2007

The MEDAL of HONOR display for the Museum of Florida

This is a letter to the Florida Secretary of State:

(Sue, this parallels the rough copy I left with you late Friday, which includes two enclosures of letters related to this subject, which your final hard copy should include. This e-mail includes a third topical enclosure I would like you to incorporate, as well. LC)


Dear Mr. Secretary,

Re: a U.S. Navy / U.S. Marine Corps Medal of Honor for display in the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee

Enclosed are copies of two letters evidencing our recent FDVA assist of your Department's request of the Navy Awards Branch in the Pentagon. While it would appear Ms. Wilson's response of 20 August 2007is asking for redundant action on your part, my discussion with her by phone yesterday has revealed why. I would like to clarify.

She recited to me some recent thefts of similar medals and their subsequent use (and sale!) to defraud the public. In response, the Department of Defense has tightened its criteria for such medal displays to ensure the request is authentic, and that the medal TO BE LOANED will be held under tight security. Furthermore, such medals will not be released until the security details have been revealed, approved, and are in-place.

For a historical perspective...only 120 (approx) recipients of the Medal of Honor are alive today. Only two have been awarded for action in Iraq (the first of whom was a Floridian), and only one in Afghanistan (see story attached). All are traditionally awarded personally by the President of the United States, so this is a VERY special award, which many of the recipients receive only posthumously.

Because the security details for the Nation's highest military honor for combat valor are so stringent, I thought I should add some emphasis with you. I think your request will ultimately prevail, but I wanted you to know the process is appropriately demanding upon the prospective holder.

If I can be of further help, please advise. My suggestion for your next move is to have your State Museum Curator call Ms. Wilson (phone number in her letter of 20 AUG), who will provide the info she needs to obtain an affirmative ruling from higher authority.

With highest regards for this project, your Department, and your personal service, I am

Respectfully, LeRoy Collins, Jr. RADM USNR (Ret),
Executive Director
Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs

CC: Governor Charlie Crist (via DCOS)
Ms. Wilson, Navy Awards Branch, The Pentagon, WASHDC


Lt. Murphy's mettle

Reader Neal Baumann writes:

A Navy Seal will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and the story is receiving little coverage. President Bush announced it yesterday. The story is in section B, page 3 of our local paper (The Journal News). Unbelievable! News 12 Long Island, the local home town cable news channel and web news service for the SEAL's home area has no reference to the story. You may want to bring it to the attention of your readers.

The story is even more inspiring than portrayed in this article. Lt. Murphy was shot in the back while transmitting the call for help, dropped the radio, fell over, and got back up and continued to transmit. He then went back to his position of cover and continued to fight. He did not survive the battle. This was obviously a terrible day for the SEALs and for our military. However, this is an inspiring story that should be read in every classroom in America.

Neal steers us to the good Los Angeles Times story on Lt. Murphy: "Navy SEAL to receive Medal of Honor." Lt. Murphy's story is told in part by Navy SEAL Marcus Lutrell in Lone Survivor, which was the subject of the interview with Lutrell conducted by John and his Northern Alliance radio colleagues in a podcast accessible here.


/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.


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