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Local Veteran Receives Two Purple Hearts

ErnestCBrace

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – A local Southern Oregon resident, Ernie Brace of Klamath Falls, is receiving the Prisoner of War Medal and two Purple Hearts Friday.

Brace is documented as the longest held civilian prisoner of war during Vietnam and is being recognized for his service as a civilian contract pilot in Laos and Vietnam from 1965 through 1973. Brace was captured in Laos in 1965 where he was held as a POW for seven years, ten months and seven days.

The ceremony will start at 2p.m. Friday afternoon at Kingsley Field and will mark the 62nd anniversary of Brace’s commission as a second lieutenant with the United States Marine Corps on August 16th, 1951.

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  1. Fred says:

    Ernest C. Brace (born August 15, 1931) was the longest-held civilian prisoner of war (POW) in Vietnam.[4] A decorated Marine Corps fighter pilot and mustang, Brace was court-martialed in 1961 for attempting to fake his own death. Brace flew as a civilian contract pilot before being captured in Laos in 1965 while flying supplies for USAID. He spent almost eight years as a POW and upon his release received a Presidential Pardon in light of his good conduct.

    He was a Civilian. Why is he getting a Military award? Check his past. This is just not the right thing to do. President Ford already gave him all he deserved.

  2. Jim says:

    Ernie Brace (then a captain) crashed his T-28 Trojan into a cornfield near the mouth of the Choptank River near Cambridge, Maryland during a training flight on 3 January 1961. He left the scene and turned himself in ten days later once his empty flight-suit was found hidden in vegetation. Brace faced a court martial and was charged with deliberately crashing his aircraft and faking his death so that his wife Patricia could collect insurance money to pay off debts. Brace plead guilty to unauthorized absence and was acquitted of the deliberate destruction of his aircraft. The court martial ended his military career. But it did not discount the fact that he already had earned many awards and medals. The Distinguished Flying Cross, Navy Unit Commendation and Korean Presidential Unit Citation among them.
    Before you start questioning his past, when in today’s society, as Americans, decided to refuse any form of recognition to those who made friends while in captivity. Friends like (Sen) John McCain at the Hanoi Hilton where they met. President Ford merely used one of his presidential pardons and restored his discharge to Honorable from Other than Honorable.
    It’s not like stolen valor. This man earned it! Civilian or Military, he was working for USAID (United States Agency for International Development). The United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. JFK created USAID by executive order to implement development assistance programs in the areas authorized by the Congress in the Foreign Assistance Act. USAID operates subject to the foreign policy guidance of the President, Secretary of State, and the National Security Council.
    I guess that made Ernie Brace a federal employee of some sort.

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