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Steve Keirn
Date: September 8, 1997
by RichInKC

RichInKC: I understand there is a project you are working on

Steve: I am trying to get my dad nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor. I have been in a letter writing campaign for over a year and a half from Senators and Congressmen to the President of the United States. My premise is that my father was one of only two men in history to be a prisoner of war in two separate wars two decades apart. At age 19 in Germany, he was shot down out of a B17 and was held captive for 11 months. 4 days before his 41st birthday, he was shot down over Vietnam with the first surface to air missile ever used. He was held 7 years 8 months, from the time I was 13 until the time I was 21. I feel that nine in captivity, two separate wars, is a sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty.

RichInKC: How is the effort progressing?

Steve: Well, it's a situation where everyone I contact tries to pass the buck. They don't seem to understand the process to get the Medal of Honor for someone because they don't have a lot of experience in the process. They all encourage me to continue my efforts, but are lost for efforts on how to achieve it. My dad's awards include:

  • - The Silver Star The Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster
  • - Distinguished Flying Cross With Two Oak Leaf Clusters
  • - Bronze Star with Three Oak Leaf Clusters
  • - Air Force Commendation with One Oak Leaf Cluster
  • - Joint Air Force/Army Commendation Medal (World War II and Vietnam)
  • - Five Purple Hearts (World War II and Vietnam)
  • - Good Conduct Medal ( World War II)
  • - World War II Victory Medal
  • - European Theater Medal
  • - Nine Battle Stars
  • - Humane Action Medal National Defense Medal ( World War II)
  • - Vietnam Service Medal Presidential Unit Citation ( World War II)
  • - Force Outstanding Unit ( World War II)
  • - Air Force Longevity Medal
  • - Small Arms Medal
  • - Vietnam Campaign Medal
  • - Prisoner Of War Medal With Bronze Star ( Vietnam)
  • - French Croix De Guerre with A Palm ( World War II)

Now, justifiably, I feel anyone who has been decorated this highly has done some great things for this country. But I believe because of the politically incorrect view of Vietnam, when he came home as part of a group, they didn't look for excellence, and he was passed over for the recognition for what he had done for so many years. He suffered over 200 torture sessions, some longer than 48 hours in Vietnam.