Troy man on mission to make sure veterans get recognition they're due

June 07, 2019 07:57 AM

TROY – The go-to guy in Rensselaer County for veterans is John Mullen. He helps fellow soldiers track down their medals and citations.

Mullen, a Vietnam Veteran, works out of his home office to cut through the red tape for fellow vets. He does interviews, conducts research, and files the necessary paperwork to get the honors veterans have earned.

"So I met with him," Mullen said of Army Ranger Joseph Edwards, who grew up in the Catskills, and served in WWII, "and (pausing as he chokes up) ...he was just a soldier's soldier."

As part of the process, he asked Edwards' daughter Dolly Rogers if she could find his uniform "because a lot of times the uniform tells the story more than the family even knows," said Mullen. He can track down Purple Hearts, Silver and Bronze Stars, the French Legion of Honor and other awards that may have been overlooked. In the past 20 years, Mullen has done work for 120 veterans.

Rogers has found a lot of her father's things including his beret, a knife made by a blacksmith in the Catskill Mountains that was passed down from his grandfather to him to get him through the war - "I think of all the bloodshed that is involved with it but it got my father to survive, you know" - to his uniform that included an "Ike" jacket that was packed in a light blue suit case tucked under his bed.

Edwards was an infantryman part of the 90th Infantry Division also known as the Tough Hombres.

"He was very badly wounded," said Rogers, who was three months old on D-Day. "I grew up seeing the scars from the bullet holes in his arm. He could not put his arm straight out. It was always curved. But he was a stubborn man. He didn't let anything beat him.

"And it was after that my mother got a notification that he was missing in action and then she got another notice that he was badly wounded. They wanted to amputate his arm. He wouldn't let them."

Rogers would like to get her father's wool uniform clean but she doesn't want it out of her sight. If you can help, let us know.



WNYT Staff

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