Lost: 1980 Found: 2013 Returned: December 20, 2014 Location: Irving, TX
On December 20, 2014, a special ceremony was held at the Westin Hotel in Irving, Texas to commemorate the life and service of Carter D. Stephens. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Stephens was the Battalion Surgeon of HQ, 1st Battalion, 505th Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. Stephens was born into an Army family and led a life of service, serving twice in Vietnam and earning the Silver Star for Gallantry in action, the Bronze Star with “V” device for Valor and Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, among other commendations, including the Parachutist Badge, Scuba Qualification Badge, the Combat Medics Badge, and the coveted Green Beret.
After the tragic accident in 1980 that took Stephens’ life, his medals were misplaced. Decades later, Casualty Assistance Officer CPT Kim Jacobs, who had ended up with the box of medals, contacted Purple Hearts Reunited for help tracking down Stephens’ family. His widow Joyce, as well as their two children Scott and Joy, were delighted to hear the medals would be returned.
In an intimate ceremony on Saturday, Zachariah Fike of Purple Hearts Reunited welcomed the assembled crowd to learn about Stephens’ service and honor his memory. The Honorable Allen Clark, author of Valor in Vietnam and himself a Green Beret and recipient of the Silver Star and Purple Heart, was the guest of honor at the event. Fike spoke on behalf of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, as well as Purple Hearts Reunited, and presented CW2 Stephens’ family with a framed display of his medals and awards.
The Stephens family was grateful to get together and to have the medals for the holiday season. “I hung them above my desk as soon as I got home,” said CW2 Stephen’s son, Scott Carter Stephens.
Read more in the Dallas, Texas Star-Telegram (AP story).