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President Pins Bronze Star on former Captive of Laotian Communists

Aug. 27, 1962 - President Kennedy pinned a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious “cold war” service today on Maj. Lawrence R. Bailey Jr. of Laurel, Md., who was a captive of Laotian Communist forces for nearly a year and a half. In a ceremony in Major Bailey’s room at Walter Reed Army Hospital, Mr. Kennedy said the medal was an inadequate token for a test “in many ways more exacting” than service on a battlefield. The President applied the same terms to a Bronze Star Medal awarded simultaneously to another former captive, Sgt. Orville R. Ballenger of Columbus, Ohio, by the commander of Womack Army Hospital at Fort Bragg, N.C., where the sergeant is hospitalized. Both men were released Aug. 17. The major and the sergeant were flown to Washington Friday, and Mr. Kennedy signed an executive order Saturday that permitted, for the first time, the awarding of the Bronze Star to members of the U.S. military forces serving with friendly countries in the “cold war” against the Communists.


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