William McBee Sr. of Parrish had never received his military service ribbon from the United States Navy for his service aboard the USS Bexar during the Korean War.
Tuesday morning, surrounded by his family and friends at Jack's in Parrish, the 84-year-old McBee beamed with pride as he was presented a blue and white service ribbon bearing three tiny bronze stars and a large round medallion, upon which was written two words: Korean Service.
"It has been a long time coming, but I finally received my service medal and bronze stars," McBee said. "It was 50 years before the government realized I even served in the military during the Korean War."
Paul Housel, a representative from U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt's office, and Alabama State Rep. Richard Baughn changed all that when they presented McBee with his Korean Service medal. The staff at Jack's also presented McBee a cake, which was decorated with blue anchors and the U.S. Navy seal.
"We are honored to present this well-deserved medal to Mr. William McBee, in appreciation of grateful nation for the sacrifices he made in defense of our country," Housel said. "The three bronze service stars symbolizes the three campaigns Mr. McBee participated in during his service in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Bexar (APA 237)."
The Korean Service Medal was authorized on Nov. 8, 1950, for members of the United States Armed Forces for service in Korea for 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days between June 27, 1950, and July 27, 1954. Bronze Service Stars are authorized to the Korean Service Medal for participation in the following campaigns:
•North Korean Aggression (USMC, Navy): June 27 to November 2, 1950.
•United Nations Defensive (Army, USAF): June 27 to September 15, 1950.
•Inchon Landing (USMC, Navy): September 13 to 17, 1950.
•United Nations Offensive (Army, USAF): September 16 to November 2, 1950.
•Chinese Communist Forces Intervention (Army, USAF): November 3, 1950 to January 24, 1951.
•Communist China Aggression (USMC, Navy): November 3, 1950 to January 24, 1951
•First United Nations Counteroffensive (USMC, Army, Navy, USAF): January 25 to April 21, 1951.
•Chinese Communist Forces Spring Offensive (USMC, Army, Navy, USAF):
April 22 to July 8, 1951.
•United Nations Summer-Fall Offensive (USMC, Army, Navy, USAF): July 9 to November 27, 1951.
•Second Korean Winter (USMC, Army, Navy, USAF): November 28, 1951 to April 30, 1952.
•Korean Defense Summer-Fall, 1952 (USMC, Army, Navy, USAF): May 1 to November 30, 1952.
•Third Korean Winter (USMC, Army, Navy, USAF): December 1, 1952 to April 30, 1953.
•Korea, Summer 1953 (USMC, Army, Navy, USAF): May 1 to July 27, 1953.
"I served aboard the USS Bexar during the evacuation of Chinnampo and Wonson and the invasion of Inchon," McBee said.
"We had 365 people aboard our ship and I was the barber. I also served as the first loader on the 40 millimeter machine guns."