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Two WNY Army veterans honored with Purple Hearts

Posted at 12:41 PM, Aug 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-07 18:22:28-04

A half century after serving in battle for the U.S. Army, two WNY veterans are finally having their service recognized with medals and honors earned during their time in uniform.

Two Army veterans from WNY received Purple Heart medals in recognition of their service more than 50 years ago. Vietnam War veteran Specialist Mykola "Nick" Shwec and the family of Korean War veteran Private Mike Licata were presented with the medals in a ceremony at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, Monday.

Congressman Brian Higgins worked to secure medals these military veterans earned during their service, including two Purple Hearts and several other awards and honors.

Specialist Shwec was presented with the following honors:

  • Cold War Certificate
  • Combat Crewman’s Badge
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Vietnam Service Medal with Three Bronze Service Stars: Each Service Star is awarded for campaigns Specialist Shwec participated in from 1965 to 1966.
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon
  • Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar
  • Senior Army Aviation Badge
  • Air Medal with two Silver and four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters: Specialist Shwec was awarded each of his Air Medals for “distinguishing himself by meritorious achievement” in hundreds of aerial combat missions over hostile territory, saving countless lives.
  • Purple Heart Award: Awarded to Specialist Shwec for shrapnel wounds received in action during combat in the Republic of Vietnam on March 13, 1966.
  • Distinguished Flying Cross: One of the highest awards bestowed by the Army, ranking higher in precedence than the Bronze Star Medal.  The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to members of the military who distinguish themselves in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.

The family of Private Licata was presented with the following honors:

  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Korean Service Medal
  • United Nations Service Medal, for his service in defending South Korea during the Korean War
  • Purple Heart Award for wounds sustained in battle

Monday marks National Purple Heart Day. The medal is awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded or killed while serving.