On 22 October 2015, Purple Hearts Reunited dedicated the medals of Vietnam hero Colonel Dorsie D. Page Jr. to the Military Heritage Collection of North Texas. The medals were first presented to Medal of Honor recipient and Vietnam Veteran Colonel Robert J. Modrzejewski, USMC. In return, he bestowed them to the museum.
Born on January 9, 1935 in Gulf, Matagorda County, TX, Dorsie Page Jr. entered Texas A&M University in the class of 1956 but then left school to join the Marine Corps on February 22, 1955. He served two tours in Vietnam, flying over 400 combat missions and was severely wounded by enemy fire on 12 September 1970. Colonel Page later returned to Texas A&M to complete his degree as well as providing military training for the Cadet ROTC program.
On June 21, 1975, Col. Page assumed command of VMA-311, an A-4 Skyhawk Attack Squadron located at MCAS Beaufort, SC. Not long thereafter, the squadron was transferred to MCAS El Toro, CA, where he continued as Commanding Officer until February 4, 1977. He later commanded Marine Aircraft Group 12 at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan in 1980. Col. Page retired from the Marine Corps at Headquarters Marine Corps on May 31, 1985. His second Career was with The Boeing Company as the Senior Washington Representative for the Navy’s T-45 Goshawk trainer aircraft, and other defense programs. COL Page passed away on 13 February 2014.
His awards and decorations consist of the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal w/ (32) Oak Clusters, Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, and USMC Aviation Wings.
Colonel Page’s medals were presented to Major General Bill Gossell USMC (Ret), who served with Colonel Page and will in return present the medals to their new home of honor at the Military Heritage Collection of North Texas.
Following the dedication, the museum dedicated a “Leo Thorsness” Medal of Honor/POW display. Leo Keith Thorsness is a retired colonel in the United States Air Force who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War. He was awarded the medal for an air engagement on April 19, 1967. He was shot down two weeks later and spent six years in captivity in North Vietnam as a prisoner of war. After his military service, Thorsness served one term in the Washington State Senate. The Medal of Honor used in the display was donated by Purple Hearts Reunited and will be used for display purposes only.
Purple Hearts Reunited’s Valor Guard Director, LtCol (R) Mitchell “Taco” Bell presented the medals and represented the organization.
This return ceremony was made possible in part by a grant from the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation.