Rep. Harshbarger delivers replacement Silver Star Medal to family of WWII veteran Harrison Mull

SEYMOUR, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Silver Star Medal is one of the most prestigious honors a veteran can receive.

On Wednesday, an East Tennessee man finally accepted his father’s Silver Star, after it had been missing for decades.

“He’s the hero here,” said Ray Mull, talking about his father Sgt. Harrison Mull, who died in combat during World War II.

According to letters, Harrison was in Okinawa, Japan with U.S. forces in 1945, where they fought for 10-straight days. Harrison was wounded and had the option to go home. Instead, he ordered his men to pull back, while he stayed and defended them. He ultimately died in that battle, and was posthumously awarded a Silver Star for his heroics and bravery.

But, the medal went missing.

“I just lost it as a young man,” Ray said. “I was playing with it somewhere. I mean I got it out of the trunk and was dangling it, and absolutely lost it.”

Ray has a shadow box of his father’s accomplishments, including a picture of his father as a soldier, and a Purple Heart Medal. But the Silver Star was still missing.

“We didn’t have the Silver Star. We could talk about it all we wanted to, but we didn’t have it,” Ray said.

Plus, a fire to the National Personnel Records Center in 1973 destroyed Mull’s military records.

“Where they were deployed, what he did, where he went, any awards he was getting, that type of thing was all destroyed in that fire,” Ray’s son Danny Mull said.

About 25 years ago, Danny wanted to learn more about his grandfather who he never met, and came across letters, newspaper articles, and pictures.

“Probably after about 10 years, we found the picture of my father wearing the Silver Star,” Danny said.

The picture shows Ray at about 4 years old, wearing a military uniform, and his father’s Silver Star Medal on his chest.

A few years ago, Danny came across an old newspaper article from North Carolina (where Sgt. Mull’s family was living) that explicitly said Sgt. Mull’s wife accepted the Silver Star Medal on behalf of her husband.

“So, that was the final proof that we had been always looking for,” Danny said.

That proof was good enough for the U.S. government to give the family another one. East Tennessee Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger presented the medal to the family on Wednesday.

“But the reason we wanted it is to glorify what he did,” Ray said.

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